Joined by H360, public hearing debates drug policy and incarceration in Brasília

Joined by H360, public hearing debates drug policy and incarceration in Brasília

On May 21, the National Council for Criminal and Penitentiary Policy held in Brasília, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice, the public hearing “Decriminalization of Drugs and its Impacts on the Prison and Judiciary System”. The president of the Humanitas360 Institute, Patrícia Villela Marino, who is part of the collegiate, opened the event and moderated the afternoon panel, in addition to showing an excerpt from the documentary “Ilegal” (2014), which shows the struggle of mothers to access Cannabis-based medicines with proven efficacy to alleviate their children’s ailments.

From the large panel of guests, who spoke throughout the morning and afternoon, Patrícia Villela Marino highlighted the participation of people who experienced the prison system from the inside, bringing a point of view that is often ignored in this debate. “Today, in this auditorium, we have the presence of men and women who have lived within the system and who, therefore, contribute to ensuring that we no longer speak and never practice human experiments, as has been the case throughout our history, again”, she said. “Let us begin to focus humbly, unselfishly, on seeking humanizing experiences.”

Among these people was Flavia Maria da Silva, a former detainee who narrated her trajectory, from her days in prison, when she learned about the Humanitas360 projects, to her current condition, now free and working as a project analyst at the institute. “I truly live social inclusion,” said Flavia. “Today I am a university woman, studying law. I started my course while still in prison and today my role is to do the same in the lives of other women. We need more Patrícias, because there are other Flávias. We need more institutes that have this social perspective, because there are many incarcerated people looking for the opportunity to be included again, to be resocialized.”

The event was also attended by authorities from the three branches of power, including judge Douglas de Melo Martins (president of the CNPCP), minister Rogério Schietti (Superior Court of Justice), secretary Marta Machado (National Secretariat for Drug Policies), the director of prison policies Sandro Abel (Senappen) and federal deputies Henrique Vieira and Carlos Minc. Researchers such as Cristina Zackseski (UnB), Luís Fernando Tófoli (Unicamp), Renato Anghinah (Instituto Ficus and USP) and Milena Karla Soares (Ipea) also contributed to the debate. On the part of civil society, Ana Fábia Ferraz Martins (Brazilian Association of Cannabis Industries), Leonardo Precioso (Recomeçar), Rafael Arcuri (National Industrial Hemp Association), Gabriel Sampaio (Conectas) and Priscila Pamela (IDDD), among others, were present.

The hearing marks the beginning of the circuit of public debates that the CNPCP will take to different regions of the country with the purpose of collecting subsidies, data and information for the development of guidelines for drug and incarceration policy. The next event takes place on the 17th and 18th of June, at the Faculty of Law of USP and at the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo.