CNJ strengthens social care within five years of pre-trial detention hearings

Brasilia, 23 December 2020 - Five years ago, the plenary of the National Council of Justice (CNJ) approved Resolution 213/2015, regulating pre-trial detention hearings and making it mandatory for every person arrested to present at the judicial authority within 24 hours. Since then, more than 750,000 pre-trial detention hearings have been held in the country, consolidating the institute as a crucial tool for the analysis of legality and the need to maintain prisons until judgment. According to the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN), at least 30% of the more than 745,000 people currently deprived of their liberty in Brazil are provisional prisoners.

Since 2019, the CNJ has worked in partnership with UNDP and UNODC to support the courts in strengthening and expanding the institute throughout the country. Custody hearings are one of 28 simultaneous actions developed by the programme ‘Fazendo Justiça” to overcome structural challenges in the context of deprivation of liberty, a programme that also has the support of the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN).

One of the main results of this effort is the institutionalization of the Custody Services (Apecs), which are already in 20 states.  Apecs relies on CNJ Resolution 288/2019, which establishes the institutional policy of the Judiciary for the application of criminal alternatives, and on the creation of service networks through agreements with public bodies, universities and civil society. The strategy to strengthen the Apecs has been promoted by UNODC technical consultants allocated to the 27 FUs through the Programme “Fazendo Justiça” to support the local judiciary in building workflows and proposals for cooperation agreements.

"In addition to encouraging the expansion of services for people in custody, since the number of states that provide these services has doubled since the beginning of the programme,  “Fazendo Justiça” has developed important national parameters for its action," says the UNODC's social protection supervisor, Nara Araújo, emphasizing the articulation of access of people in custody to networks of services aimed at care, citizenship and social inclusion.


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