Co-ops to be developed in prison units in the Paraíba Valley

In the last month, the projects that will be developed by Huminitas360 in the prison units in Tremembé in the Paraíba Valley (Brazil) were presented and approved by the Secretariat of Penitentiary Administration (SAP) of the state of Sao Paulo and the State Department of Criminal Justice. With the help of the Community Executive Board (CCVEC), the handcrafts projects inside the women’s prison units and the vegetable garden projects in the men’s prison units are already in the implementation phase. The plan is that the activities will officially start this coming May.

The partnership between Humanitas360, the Secretariat of Penitentiary Administration (SAP)  of the state of Sao Paulo and the State Department of Criminal Justice was signed in the end of 2017 in order to develop projects inside four prison units. The projects aim to provide activities that can train inmates in skills and trades that can help them earn an income while they are in jail as well as after their release. All of the projects will be based on a co-op model in order to facilitate the inmates’ work and the financial sales transactions.

Among the objectives of the projects are: increase awareness about the reality of the prison system, recruit volunteers, fundraise and attract support to the current initiatives led by the CCVEC and SAP; structure social co-ops inside prison units, training and enabling inmates to generate an income (those inmates will eventually be released and be able to take with them the skills they learned at the co-op); generate profits through selling products under a single brand and through unique channels; and enabling the project’s replicability by strengthening community executive boards that already exist, inspiring the creation of new ones, and integrating projects and co-ops in other other prison units.

The participation of the executive board, a group made of 20 citizens that voluntarily work to represent civil society inside prison units, is crucial for social enterprises to grow stronger among detainees. Nowadays, the group supersives the fulfillment of judicial orders and sentences, as well as supporting the judge in visits to the prison units. Another function of the board is to follow the activities of the Rapid Intervention Group, a special SAP team that works in searches inside prison units, and assist at crisis such as riots.

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