Latin America / Penitentiary systems

EL PAcCTO participates in an international symposium on prison management

24 May 2021

The EL PAcCTO programme participated in the International Symposium, “Reality and Challenges for Prison Management in the Face of Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime” led by the Chilean Prison Service. The event was attended by more than 500 participants from various Latin American countries. They included representatives from the Prison Academies Network (RAP), which is promoted by EL PAcCTO and includes 12 Latin American countries as well as Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.

Chile is in the process of presenting a new bill to strengthen the management of its system in the face of the growing threat from powerful criminal groups. Groups that are spreading in the region are also using penal centres as bases for their illicit activities and for proselytising and recruiting new members.

The objective of the Chilean Prison Service in organising this virtual event is to promote a space for dialogue to learn about other international experiences in order to create synergies to improve the technical tools that reinforce the fight against crime.

EL PAcCTO presents the European experience in prison management

The coordinator of the EL PAcCTO Prison Systems component, Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini, and the Italian Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Barbara Sargenti, appointed by the Ministry of Justice, participated as rapporteurs. Both were able to contribute European experience in preventing the infiltration of crime into prisons. They also presented tools such as differentiated circuits, maximum security regimes to treat the most dangerous incarcerated people while respecting their human rights.

Alternative measures and coordination of the entire criminal chain

The conclusions reached by the international symposium included:

  • The importance of alternative measures to incarceration to decongest prison systems and, in this way, focus attention on the most dangerous incarcerated prisoners;
  • The need to apply truly transnational and inter-institutional strategies to combat the infiltration by Transnational Organised Crime (CTO in its Spanish initials) into prisons. The need also to create differentiated circuits for the treatment of those incarcerated people who belong to organised criminal associations;
  • Importance of coordinating investigations and the activities of the entire criminal chain in the fight against organised crime. An aspect strongly promoted by Judge Giovanni Falcone and which provides for the involvement of the police forces, the prosecution (which in Italy also has the power to investigate) and the prison system.
  • The requirement to improve the skills of prison staff. To this end, EL PAcCTO promoted the creation of a Bi-regional Prison Academies Network with the participation of the Chilean Prison Service, as well as 11 other Latin American countries and Italy, Spain, France and Portugal.