Work in Chains
The apparent willingness of former governor Garotinho, now Secretary of Public Security, to work in an integrated manner with the federal government is encouraging. Let’s hope the good intentions come true because reducing the effects of the explosive combination between drugs and weapons will only happen when we have a police acting with intelligence. And intelligent police means integrated work among the various police, federal, state and municipal because drug and arms trafficking is articulated nationally and internationally, as we all know.
The failure of the public security policy that privileges the confrontation, as demonstrated by a research carried out by the Cândido Mendes University Center for Studies on Security and Citizenship, published in GLOBO, points to the eyes of the public. In 2002, police killed 900 people in Rio de Janeiro, 170 Rio police officers were murdered, and even so, increased insecurity in the city and state. On the other hand, prisoners continue firing orders from prisons and their commanders on the hills diligently obey them.
Problems of the prison
Alongside more general initiatives in the area of public security, attention must also be paid to the problems of the prison system, particularly in prison work. It is common to hear criticism about idleness in prisons. What many may not know is that if the Criminal Enforcement Act, which has been in effect for almost twenty years in this country, would be worked out, all of the prisoners would work, because Article 31 of the Law is very clear: “The person sentenced to the freedom is bound to work to the extent of their abilities and ability. “
It is important to note that, contrary to what most people think, the prisoner seeks work within the walls. Mainly because, according to the same Penal Execution Law, for every three days worked, one day is deducted from the penalty.
However, the Brazilian state has historically been incompetent to provide work to the prisoner. During the period when I directed the Penitentiary System of the state of Rio de Janeiro (1991/1994), the scarce funds allocated to prisons did not allow the creation of workshops, and we were able to seek partnerships with small and medium entrepreneurs. I thought this was easy because, after all, the inmate legally receives only three quarters of the minimum wage for his work, is not protected by labor laws (CLT) and does not strike. What’s more, the small or medium-sized businessman does not pay rent for the space he occupies in the chain, does not pay for electricity, does not pay for water, nor does he have a telephone.
Well, after a very large publicity work, counting on the goodwill of the then president of the Fluminense Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, it was not possible to attract more than half a dozen entrepreneurs to set up workshops in prisons. Maybe it’s time to get back together in this area.
It is also necessary to review the planning of construction of new prison units, because, in recent years, the rulers have allocated resources to build chains where there is no room for work. They allocate funds for the generation of vacancies to be occupied by inmates who will fulfill their feathers by eating and sleeping, without learning a profession. That they will most likely return to the streets without any taste for work, which they may never have had, but that it was the state’s duty to teach them.
In Rio de Janeiro, for example, the prisoner who does not have a visit and does not work depends on the so-called “chain owners” even to get a roll of toilet paper or a piece of soap, which is not distributed by the prison administration.
And who are the “owners of the jail?” Today, basically, they are the leaders of drug trafficking. It is they who corrupt the police in the street, corrupt penitentiary security agents inside the walls and use prisoners in general as a maneuver.
It is already commonplace to say that the traffic settled in the hills because the State was absent from these communities. In the same way, the trafficking leaders, once arrested, became “owners of the chains”, because the state was also absent from prisons. Resuming its role, in the hills and prisons of Rio de Janeiro, is what is expected of the state. And to resume its role implies providing decent medical services, education and policing in the unprotected communities that inhabit our hills.
These communities, as well as the residents of the south of the city, deserve the protection of a law-abiding police, who fight crime without breaking the law. And, in prisons, that the state imposes respect, mainly combating corruption, violence and providing work to prisoners.