COPOLAD II, EL PAcCTO and EUROsociAL + have organized a bi-regional conference in Uruguay to discuss alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty
This high-level conference has a dual objective: to reflect on the situation in Europe and Latin America regarding alternative measures to deprivation of liberty and to come up with proposals other than prison sentences or jail terms.
With this dual purpose, more than a hundred specialists from more than 30 different countries and coming from the judicial, prison and institutional field are meeting in this bi- regional meeting jointly organized by COPOLAD II , EL PAcCTO and EUROsociAL + , three regional cooperation programmes financed by the European Union and in whose management the FIIAPP participates.
This conference takes place in a context in a Latin American region facing high crime levels and the average rate of persons deprived of their liberty is higher than 263 per 100,000 inhabitants. Prison overpopulation worries the governments and judicial authorities of the region and, in addition, there is a growing tendency to house detainees in pretrial detention, exceeding 30% of the prison population and reaching, more than 70% in some countries.
At the opening of the event, Jorge de la Caballería, head of unit of the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, stressed that in the search for alternative answers to deprivation of liberty, “the aim is not just to provide a circumstantial solution to the problem of overcrowding in prisons, but to use alternatives to incarceration to provide better prospects for social rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.”
Ariel Cancela, Deputy Prosecutor of the Uruguayan General Prosecutor’s Office , spoke in similar terms and noted that “resolving criminal conflict can truly lead to a more peaceful society”.
Andrea Vignolo, Executive Director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI) highlighted the importance of cooperation and participation between the three projects: “This meeting marks a milestone because we are three regional programmes working together. There are more than 30 countries and we are confident that with this solidarity and sincere dialogue among experts we will be able to find ways and means to make progress on these issues.”
Other figures also participated, such as Margarita Cabello, Minister of Justice and Law of Colombia, Edmund G. Hinkson, Minister of the Interior of Barbados and Eduardo de Porres Ortiz de Urbina, Spanish Supreme Court Judge.
Specialists agreed during this first day on the importance of focusing on the inequalities that drive people to act outside the law, the fight against organized cross-border crime and the analysis and development of policies for reducing the supply of and demand for drugs.