Latin America is facing very high prison overcrowding, which makes it difficult to control the infiltration of organised criminal groups into the prison system. Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) who are highly vulnerable are the most exposed to the risk of recruitment by transnational organised crime to continue their criminal activities from prison.
This first webinar focused on the management and treatment of LGBTI+ people in the prison system. Based on the good practice established in a cell block dedicated to LGTBI+ people in Ezeiza Prison in the Argentine Federal Penitentiary System, and on the innovations introduced by the Micaela Law, the exchange of knowledge and experiences relating to the issue has been promoted among the countries in the Penitentiary Academies Network (RAP). Fourteen Latin American countries and the European Union participated in the online event.
Institutional strengthening in Latin America
One of the main objectives for this activity has been to increase knowledge and skills in matters relating to human rights in the prison sector. In particular, on the management and treatment of special risk groups as a strategy for decreasing the risk of recruitment by transnational organised crime. Good practices and experiences relating to the issue have also been shared by Argentina and other Latin American countries.
The webinar was introduced by Lorenzo Tordelli, the coordinator-manager of the Penitentiary Systems component of EL PAcCTO, and Luca Pierantoni, the head of the Cooperation Section for the EU Delegation in Argentina. In the session, Maria Laura Garrigós, Undersecretary of Penitentiary Affairs with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Alba Rueda, Undersecretary of Diversity Policies at the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity, Dr. Gabriela Gómez, a member of the interdisciplinary health team at Federal Penitentiary Complex IV, and Subprefect Claudia Gonzalez, Director of Legal Administrative Coordination and Treatment at Federal Penitentiary Complex IV, spoke on behalf of Argentina.
For Uruguay, Dr. Paula Lacano, who is in charge of the Gender and Diversity Department with the National Rehabilitation Institute (INR), also spoke about the “Public Policies Implementing LGBTIQ+ Rights”.
Exchange of experiences relating to Human Rights
EL PAcCTO has facilitated the exchange of knowledge between Argentina and the other countries in order to share their experiences and good practices in the field since, according to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the State must assume the obligation of applying the principle of equality and intervene in a meaningful way to guarantee the effective protection of the most vulnerable groups; in this case, pregnant women, women in the postpartum period and nursing mothers; LGBTI+ people; indigenous people; old people; and children who live with their mothers in prison.
Due to the stigmatisation and prejudices based on the varied sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual characteristics of some PDLs, an attempt will be made to work on identifying the main problems suffered by this group in prisons. Some examples are: risk of violence, segregation within the prison, obstacles to arranging intimate visits, and decisions on admission to prison units.