On August 13 and 14, Instituto Humanitas360 participated in the BlastU festival, which brings together startups, social organizations and major companies to promote creativity and innovation, at the Pavilion of the São Paulo Art Biennial. While speaking about the pioneering business model Behind and Beyond Bars, Patrícia Villela Marino, president of H360, responded to questions from the attorney Carolina Mellone Etlin and presented the audience with the trailer for the documentary “Tecendo a Liberdade” [Weaving Freedom], which addresses the challenges of the prison system from the point of view of women and points to new approaches in public safety policy.
During the panel discussion, Patrícia and Carolina show that, contrary to popular belief, mass incarceration actually increases street crime because organized crime grows hand in hand with the prison population. Today, Brazil has over 725,000 people in prison, higher than any other country except for China (1.6 million) and the United States (2.1 million). We also have one of the largest female prison populations in the world, one that has risen by 567% between 2000 and 2016, according to the 2016 InfoPen report. If we consider figures for 2018, the increase is closer to 700%. And, as Carolina observed: “66% of the women in prison are first-time offenders.”
During the conversation, Patrícia emphasized the importance of promoting civic and social engagement to change this reality. Instituto Humanitas360 has made raising awareness and mobilization of society and the prison population a priority: “We are promoting entrepreneurism inside prisons not only to create work and overcome the idleness inside, but also to engage them as active citizens, so that the inmates have the means to take advantage of the opportunity and rebuild their lives. This is the only way we can build a world that is less violent and more equal.”
Programming for the festival included lectures, panel discussions, workshops and mentoring with leaders in innovation, technology, social impact and creativity. Paulo Veras, co-founder of 99 taxis, Thomaz Srougi, founder and CEO of Dr. Consulta, and Alex Seibel, founder of Positiv.a, were a few of the participants. Civi-Co, the workspace that hosts H360 and another dozen civic and social enterprises, assembled a stand that displayed products by Tereza, a brand of the cooperative of inmates and ex-inmates from Women’s Penitentiary II of Tremembé.