We All Have Rights
Aware of their rights, the prison population integrates easily into society and reduces its chances of systematic abuses that endanger its physical and mental integrity.
This encourage the NGO to launch the project "We all have rights”, a unique project that inform and promote awareness of their owns rights according to the law, to prevent torture and encourage the possibility of reinsertion afterwards.
The main objective of the campaign is that prisoners learn the most important laws that regulate their status in prison. By doing this, they contribute themselves in their own re-socialization and prevent the violations of their rights during the incarceration.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The work was mainly performed in the Puente Alto´s Prison, a high-risk neighborhood in Santiago due to its problem with poverty and drugs, among others. The program was performed with motivated inmates in pursuing their own re-socialization, into two semester cycles.
Every class had a different topic, dictated by lawyers or bachelor in law volunteers with educational material as a backup. Among all the subjects covered, there were some important aspects of the life in prison, as the transfer request in case of a risk situation, visitation rights, and about transgression in the internal regulation.
The participating inmates were able to acquire the necessary tools to operate prison mechanisms through the drafting and processing of documents, and to gain certain autonomy for their legal claims thus reducing dependency on the very few lawyers working in prisons at Chile. Also they were able to gain knowledge regarding the labour laws applied to those that work while serving their time, and validate the course as a workshop.
We are the pioneer NGO by giving legal aid and education to incarcerated people in Chile.
The project had a direct impact on 60 inmates who, thanks to the given material, became leaders of the rights protection inside the prison, teaching their peers what was allowed, what was not, and the proper way to behave to have access to benefits.
Moreover, considering the permanent closure own dynamics, it promoted solidarity among the inmates, spreading the material to over 300 people. This created a new scenario focus on the human rights, which also allowed us to train 50 gendarmerie officers on the same topics.
The first major challenge was to translate the technical language into easier ways for the inmates, that allow them to understand and apply this new concepts into their everyday life. Another challenge was to breakthrough a penal institution that so far only promoted control and discipline, leaving out of the scope all the action related with reinsertion.
We experienced how personalized assistance to inmates increase their self-esteem, make them feel heard again and became themselves into key players into the own re-socialization.
Nowadays in Chile, there is a lack of concern about the prison situation. The state and relevant institutions have been disabled and overwhelmed by lack of education, lack of money and prison overcrowding.
There is a gap and total ignorance, by the prisoners themselves, for the main rights they have in their situation.
Educational institutions that deliver tools are urgently needed for the promotion of reintegration process.