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Inauguration of the expansion of the University Annex at the Women's Rehabilitation Center

Under the UNODC PANZ59 Project "Consolidating prison reform improvements in Panama", with the support of the US Embassy in Panama, officials from the Ministry of Government, the Embassy, ​​UNODC and the University of Panama participated in the inauguration of the expansion of the University Annex at the Women's Rehabilitation Center (CEFERE) through formal handover of the new container classroom donated by UNODC.

The event, held on September 7 th, included the intervention of a woman deprived of liberty who stressed the importance of higher education for her life. Also, another prisoner expressed the benefits of the stress management workshops delivered by the NGO named 'CAPACITAR´, which are also funded by the PANZ59 Project.

Furthermore, María Noel Rodríguez, Project Coordinator of UNODC Prison Reform Team, emphasized the importance of implementing the Bangkok Rules and adapt prison management to the norms contained in this international instrument. The expert expressed that the University Annex Project complies with the Bangkok Rules and it is an unprecedented and pioneering experience in the region. UNODC has previously delivered 300 copies of the Bangkok Rules to the Prison Training Academy.

The event was also attended by the Vice-Minister of Government, Maria Luisa Romero; Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Panama, Kevin Michael O'Reilly; INL Director at the Embassy, ​​David M. Foran; the Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean, Amado Philip de Andrés; the Head of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Panama, Dr. Olmedo Garcia; and the Ombudsman, Alfredo Castillero Hoyos.

This expansion is a milestone for the country and the region, which will increase the possibilities of study for women prisoners, thus promoting their social reintegration.