Gláucia was serving a six-year sentence in prison for drug trafficking when she joined the cooperative of handcrafts that the Humanitas360 Institute implemented in the closed-regime area of the Women’s Penitentiary 2 in Tremembé, São Paulo. Soon after that, she earned the right to move to the semi-open regime, which required her just to be in prison to sleep at night. However, Gláucia did not accept that privilege so that she could continue to help her fellow inmates in the development of the business. In August of last year, she became the first member of the cooperative to be released from prison, and she continues to be a partner in the business, making products for the brand Tereza.
“I went to learn about the offer and learned that we needed to work first, create the cooperative so that we could have a financial return afterwards. We had to believe in it, and I did,” said Gláucia Tomaz, 41. Having production metrics to meet, she works from home in the city of Cruzeiro, in the countryside of the state of São Paulo. She does crochet and sewing for the lines of handmade products.
This is the first time that Gláucia has a professional occupation. When she was 11 years old, she learned that she had been adopted. At 12, she started using drugs, and at 14 she gave birth to her son, Akinaton. “To provide for me and my child, I did what I could,” said Gláucia. She started committing minor offenses until she met José Sérgio Thomaz. She married him and had two daughters, Amine and Ayla.
With her first child also being involved with drugs, Gláucia was arrested and convicted, but she was able to have the privilege of being in house arrest for having children younger than 12 years of age. Nonetheless, as she did not attend her hearings, she was convicted to serve her sentence in prison. While in jail, her elderly husband passed away and she was not able to attend the funeral. “My life got crazy inside that place. You meet people that robbed banks, did international trafficking, committed murders, raped…There, I kept to myself, didn’t get involved with anything. I read a lot. I’m a Kardecist, so I read a lot of books on spiritism,” she said.
On the day that she gave the interview for this story, Gláucia was in São Paulo participating, along with the H360 team, in the street market Buenos Artes, which took place behind Trianon Park on Paulista Avenue. There, she connected with people that had never come in contact with an ex-inmate or had visited a prison before. People stopped by to check out the products and would get amazed at Gláucia and her story.
Now out of prison, her work also includes promoting the brand Tereza and being a spokesperson for those that had never been heard before. “In what depends on me, the cooperative will grow. The inmates that are there, once they get released and don’t have where to go, they will have work, some money to pay for a place to sleep and buy food,” said Gláucia, “This is truly promoting resocialization, giving an opportunity to someone that already paid for what they did and has the right to change. Today, I am a happy co-op member.”