AVSI Brazil professional training in prisons honored at World Bank

AVSI-APAC-WB-ceremony-190x260AVSI's project in Minas Gerais, Brazil, for skills development and professional training inside prisons as part of the APAC program (Associações de Proteção e Assistência aos Condenados), is the winner of the Jobs Knowledge Platform Most Promising Approach award within the Experiences from the Field. An awards ceremony took place at the World Bank headquarters in May.

AVSI Director of Minas Gerais Gianfranco Commodaro traveled to Washington, DC, to receive the award and present the project to the participants of Jobs and Shared Prosperity Day. He spoke of the successes of the 34 APAC prison units in Minas Gerais state, which have no guards, operate at just one-third the cost of the public prisons, and have a recividism rate of only 10-15%.

Commodaro, Maria Teresa Gatti and Jackie Aldrette of AVSI received the award from Jaime Saavedra-Chanduvi, Director of the World Bank's Poverty Reduction and Equity department, and Klaus Zimmerman, Director, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Brazil Apac awardThe APAC Professional Qualification Program in Brazil was developed by the FBAC (Fraternidade brasileira de assistência aos condenados) in 1972, and AVSI has been among the partners in some Brazilian prison locations since 2010. In Santa Lucia APAC, AVSI has organized a bakery and construction courses. As part of the program, prisoners serve their full term in three phases: first in the closed security section with a period for personal habilitation and rebuilding family or social ties; second in a semi-open phase the inmates receive training and do work inside the prison complex. Finally, for those who show signs of capacity and trust, in the last phase of their sentence they can work with partner businesses and return to the jail at night. This gives inmates a chance to live a new humanity and freedom even behind bars, and facilitates the reintegration of prisoners into society, overcoming stigma that can make finding a first job difficult.

AVSI lists a few important lessons learned:

"First, we have to say that dealing with skill development and professional training without a human development course is not sufficient to help the prisoners to be reintegrated into society. Both actions have been to be led together and the human development process has to come first.
Second, one of the most important lessons of this program is that in order to cope with these issues of the prison system and of the reintegration into society, the three sectors of society have to act commonly: the public sector, the private sector and civil society (NGOs). Even though it is an issue that should be tackled by public authorities, it is also a responsibility of the society to participate in it and the improvement of the situation of jails can only be achieved through the collaboration of all the social actors."

 

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