Fazendo Justiça Programme Promotes Training on Social Service in Pre-Trial Detention Hearings 

Photo: CNJ

Brasilia, 20 April 2021 - The Fazendo Justiça Programme, an initiative of the National Council of Justice (CNJ), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with support from the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety (MJSP) started on Monday ( the 19th) the second training cycle on pre-trial detention hearing, focused on the Assistance to Persons under Custody (APEC). The event takes place, from April 19 to 23, in a virtual format.

The initiative is part of the CNJ's strategy to strengthen and institutionalize social services at the gateway to the prison system, encouraging parameters that qualify the service with a restorative approach and network articulation for access to services.

The programme brings together experts, judges, and managers from all regions of the country, who will share possible ways to enhance the pre-trial detention hearings, in order to ensure the rights of persons in custody, observing the context of the life and psychosocial aspects and articulating the access of this population to service networks in the field of care, citizenship and social inclusion.

This is the second national event to update the teams of the Assistance to Persons in Custody (APEC) service. This edition is intended for professionals from the states of Acre, Amapá, Espírito Santo, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, and São Paulo, based on the guidelines consolidated in the Manual of Social Protection in Pre-Trial Detention Hearings: Parameters for the Service of Assistance to Persons in Custody.

At the opening of the event, Luís Lanfredi, the coordinating judge of the Department for Monitoring and Supervision of the Prison System and the System for Execution of Socio-Educational Measures (DMF/CNJ), highlighted the importance of the expansion and qualification of social protection actions in pre-trial detention hearings. "Custody hearings are not just a procedural criminal procedure. They are, first of all, a way of looking at the phenomenon of crime and process. Here, the main thing, it is not the rite, but the person who is presented from this procedure, because what is desired, notably for those admittedly disadvantaged, is to contemplate them with some kind of protection."

By December, more than 750,000 pre-traial detention hearings were held throughout the country, consolidating the institute as an indispensable tool for analyzing the legality and necessity of maintaining arrests until trial. According to DEPEN, at least 30% of the more than 745 thousand people currently deprived of freedom in Brazil are provisional detainees.



In 2020, the CNJ launched the Manual of Social Protection in Pre-Trial Detention Hearings, a technical publication that systematizes the parameters for acting in the area and serves as a foundation for the training course now being offered. Since 2019, the CNJ has been working in partnership with UNDP and UNODC to support courts in strengthening and expanding the custody hearing throughout the country. This is one of 28 simultaneous actions developed by the Fazendo Justiça programme to overcome structural challenges in the context of deprivation of liberty, a program that also has the support of the National Penitentiary Department (DEPEN).

As highlighted by Lanfredi, the prior social service to the pre-trial detention hearings is based on the restorative perspective and points out the need for an action previous to the decision, considering the subjective and social dimensions present in the life of the person in custody and the possibilities of measures that prioritize freedom. "As for the social service after the pre-trial detention hearing, it is linked to the need for referrals to the social protection network and guidance from the alternative criminal measures to imprisonment that may be determined."

The DEPEN director of Prison Policies, Sandro Abel, pointed out the importance of pre-trial detention hearings to reduce Brazil's prison overpopulation. According to the MJSP representative, previous data from the National Survey of Penitentiary Information (SISDEPEN) indicate balance and even possible reduction in the number of people deprived of liberty in the country. "The role of the pre-trial custody hearings was extremely necessary for this"

To exemplify the reach of the hearings, Abel reported that a state secretary of penitentiary administration pointed out that the prison population in his state would have up to 8,000 more people imprisoned if it were not for custody. "The basis of improvement comes from training and meetings."

The coordinator of the Peace and Governance Unit of UNDP, Moema Freire, pointed out the important results brought by the partnership between the UN body and the CNJ through the Fazendo Justiça, a "milestone for the development of new actions for the qualification of penal and socio-educational policies". According to the UNDP representative, dealing with policies that support the most vulnerable populations - such as those deprived of freedom - is essential for the country to move to higher levels of development. "The pre-trial detention hearings is fundamental to the goal of the 2030 Development Agenda that deals with more fair, peaceful, and inclusive societies."

This is what also emphasized the coordinator of UNODC's Rule of Law Unit, Nívio Nascimento, when he highlighted social protection as a key and consensual issue among the different actors of the pre-trial detention hearings. "The training that begins today is based on the manual on social protection developed by the Fazendo Justiça programme, a robust work that involved the technical teams of the programme, such as CNJ, UNDP, and UNODC. We are grateful for the trust in UNODC's specialized mandate in security and justice issues."

With information from CNJ (www.cnj.jus.br)


To know more:  http://www.agenda2030.com.br/

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