In recent weeks, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay have made significant progress in forming Inter-institutional Technical Committees (ITCs) in order to apply alternative measures to imprisonment.
Aware of the need to increase the use of these measures to reduce prison overcrowding, representatives of institutions in the criminal justice system from these three countries have met under the technical coordination of EL PAcCTO to advance in forming the ITCs. This will ensure a more effective management of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) who belong to organised criminal groups.
Alternative measures in Paraguay: a broad approach
The Paraguayan Minister of Justice, Cecilia Perez, the Vice Minister of Justice, Rubén Maciel, and several representatives from the Judiciary have met virtually, accompanied by the expert Monica Cali, who is a surveillance judge in Turin (Italy), to share the challenges that Paraguay faces in applying alternative measures.
In this meeting, the need to work on different areas that involve multiple participants has been identified: from raising public awareness, to changing approaches regarding punishment, or modifying practices that systematically exclude the application of existing rules on alternative measures.
Based on the analysis conducted, a group of participants has been decided upon who will be called to a further meeting, in which a first protocol proposal for the official activation of an ITC will be shared.
The Interinstitutional Technical Group in Colombia
The Colombian Ministry of Justice and Law has met with participants in the criminal justice system to present the proposed protocol for the activation of an Interinstitutional Technical Group (ITG) to apply alternative measures, as a result of the cooperation and technical assistance work carried out by the Ministry of Justice and EL PAcCTO. The other entities in the criminal justice system are analysing the document and contributing to it, with the aim of reaching a consensus on a definitive version.
Argentina commits to the ITC and a shared strategy
Finally, in the case of Argentina, the leaders in the Undersecretariat of Penitentiary Affairs at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and representatives of the Judicial Council in Argentina have come together to formulate a shared strategy that can enable all the actors in the criminal justice system to be involved. At this meeting, the leaders made significant progress on creating an ITC on alternative measures to imprisonment, and on signing an activation protocol in the coming months.