The governor of the state of Maranhão, Flávio Dino, visited the Humanitas360 Institute to discuss the plan to implement work cooperatives for inmates at the Female Prison Unit of São Luís, a project articulated by the National Justice Council. In a conversation with the team, the governor underscored the importance of this partnership to meet a demand that an overburdened public administration cannot handle on its own. “This is an issue that has gained centrality in our state because of the great prison crisis of 2013 and 2014,” he stated.
At the encounter, the vice-president of H360, Ricardo Anderáos, presented other projects carried out by the institute and announced a new partner for the institute’s work in Maranhão: singer Alcione, who was born there, and will be the godmother of the cooperative. “Her presence if very valuable to us. She is very respected and cherished”, said Dino. He also stressed that the government is open to new collaborations with H360 – such as the idea to establish a cooperative office for former detainees in São Luís, where they could go after they are released from prison, and also projects regarding art exhibitions and local artisan associations for the development of a new collection of craftworks related to the state culture.
Another issue discussed at the meeting – which will be addressed more carefully by Humanitas360 next year – was that of fine-penalty payment: according to the current Brazilian law and depending on a judge’s decision, prisoners convicted for heinous crimes must pay a fine of up to 100,000 reais after serving their sentences. H360 will elaborate a manual explaining the importance of this topic and the procedures former detainees should follow: if one does not pay the fine, it becomes impossible to register to vote; thus all citizen life regularization, such as getting an employment record book, for example, is suspended. Aware of this issue, specially when informed that a federal government project is proposing to convert the fine-penalty into a return to prison, Dino started to think of legal ways out to the problem. He also expressed solidarity with the shutdown of Humanitas360 Institute cooperatives in the Tremembé prison, in the state of São Paulo.
The governor reaffirmed his common interest with H360 in working to change the mindset of Brazilian society regarding the prison issue. In order to do so, the best thing is to count on results focused work: production in Maranhão should start in January and, following the institute tradition, all income will be distributed among the inmates associated with the cooperative.
(Tradução: Andrei Reina)