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This is a personal project I photographed while I was on staff at the Ventura County Star.

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Inmate Alejandro Garcia starts a fire to heat stones that will be used in a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Volunteer Native American spiritual leader Frank Paz tends a fire that is heating 18 stones, which will be used in a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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A pile of freshly wrapped sage sits on the ground at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Native American spiritual leader John James, center, smudges an inmate with sage before she enters the sweat lodge area at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Wednesday.

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Inmate Luis Vega gives an offering to a fire, which is used to heat stones, before the start of a sweat lodge ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Inmates Alejandro Garcia, left, and Jose L. Guzman, right, carry hot stones from a fire pit to the sweat lodge at the start of a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Native American spiritual leader John James, second from left, and other participants prepare themselves to enter a sweat lodge during a sweat ceremony at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Female inmates prepare a sweat lodge for an afternoon ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Wednesday.

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Karina Flores covers a sweat lodge with a tarp at the start of a sweat ceremony at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, Ca., on Wednesday.

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Jose L. Guzman opens the sweat lodge after the first prayer during a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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A sweat lodge is seen closed during a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013..

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Opening the sweat lodge after the second prayer Jose L. Guzman catches his breath during a sweat ceremony held at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility located in Camarillo, Ca., on Thursday.

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Female inmates wash off after finishing a sweat lodge ceremony at the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, Ca., on Wednesday.