A few days ago, it was made known through the UNODC Report that, however, Chile has the lowest homicide rate in the region, leading the death rate inside the prisons. Although significant progress has been made in recent years in accessing new programmes for reintegration into the prison, reducing overcrowding and segregating female criminal populations, it appears to be insufficient in controlling and reducing levels of violence especially among the male population.
The prison does not operate as a system isolated from the conditions of those who get there. It is not a buffer that mitigates grassroots violence or drug use that catalyzes disruptive behaviors. The conditions of exclusion faced by the criminal population are the basis of problematic behaviors and, consequently, the beginning, consolidation and chromicity of criminal trajectories.
In 2015 the Study of Social Exclusion in Persons Deprived of Freedom, promoted by Fundación San Carlos de Maipo, in conjunction with Paz Ciudadana, accounted for the aggravation of exclusion levels and the low effectiveness of the prison in reducing recidivism. Deprivation of liberty is ineffective for social reintegration. Eradicating Violence in Prison is an important yearning in the authorities of Gendarmerie, in fact they have just announced the Preventive Plan «Your Life Matters Us», a plan that is certainly valued, since it is part of the problem in order to break the normalization expressed in the duel of the courtyards.
In addition, the Public Prosecutor’s Office instructed that all deaths be investigated as ‘potentially unlawful’, both signs of authority correctly aim to disregarding the use of violence.
However, multiple system inputs and outputs inevitably establish spaces permeably at the levels of violence expressed in their home or destination environments, the configuration of criminal gangs, the operation of organizations outside walls, seem to nurture in a continuum that requires decisive action not only inside the prison, but outside its limits.
It is a major challenge to reduce the levels of violence in prison and this will certainly require improving conditions inland, but it is also necessary to make urgent progress on effective post-prison models for the social integration of people who they served their time, to recognize in this process the difference between men and women and the integrality of the intervention that today seems to be based exclusively on the job opportunity without regard to personal, family and community dynamics.
It is in the family and in the neighborhood where the patterns of violence arise or become extinct to the extent that we have protective factors that act with opportunity and in a systemic way, integrated in the territory, gaining spaces where others generate pain, where death it is the only guaranteed right that prison does not snatch.
Marcelo Sánchez, General Manager of Fundación San Carlos de Maipo