IDDH – Institute for Development and Human Rights
Women in Prison in the State of Santa Catarina: Where are your Children?
Objetivos e público prioritário
To provoke the improvement of maternal and child health conditions in the prisons in Santa Catarina, raising awareness of the Judiciary System on the need to substitute incarceration for pre-trial house arrest.
- Organize data collection on the prison situation of pregnant women and of those with children up to 12 years old in the women’s wards of the Regional Prison of Joinville.
- Hold a public hearing at the Legislative Assembly of Santa Catarina with this project’s partners (Prison Council, Public Defender’s Office, Court of Criminal Enforcement and the State Board of Human Rights) inviting these institution’s representatives to discuss the problem of maternal and child care in the prison and the need to substitute incarceration for pre-trial house arrest in the case of women who are mothers.
- Carry out a legal assistance effort in partnership with the Public Defender’s Office of the State of Santa Catarina to offer juridical guidance to pregnant detainees and to those with children up to 12 years of age in the Regional Prison of Joinville, aiming to replicate the initiative in other municipalities.
- Holding workshops with all women incarcerated in the women’s ward of the Regional Prison of Joinville, focusing on the following themes: citizenship, equality and human rights; and sexual and reproductive rights; right to maternal and child care in prison and monitoring the cases of pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 years of age.
- Research on the legal arguments used in the decisions of the Santa Catarina Courts that deny the substitution of preventive custody at home in the case in question, raising awareness to the judicial system through campaigns and communication on the subject (articles and interviews in newspapers, educational videos, among others), and data collection on the situation of women and their families in pre-trial detention throughout the state.
The problem of the selectivity found in the penal system and of the mass incarceration of pregnant women or those with children up to 12 years of age is a topic to be addressed in Brazil. Despite the fact that the legal system provides for measures to enforce the right to maternal and child care, such as the replacement of temporary custody by house arrest, this measure finds very low applicability in the system and it is understood as a mere “discretion” of the judge. The low applicability of this norm disregards the right to integral protection and the principle of absolute priority to childhood, which is usually the result of prejudice of the legal operators in relation to the people in the prison system. The Superior Federal Court (STF) admitted a collective habeas corpus that requested the replacement of preventive prison (kind of the temporary prisons) by the house arrest for all the incarcerated women with small children and for those who are pregnant in the Brazilian justice system. In Joinville, it was verified by a survey carried out by UNIVILLE’s Human Rights Clinic in the women’s ward of the
Regional Prison, that 89% (eighty-nine percent) of the 46 (forty-six) prisoners have children. At the time of the research, applied in November 2016, there was an inmate imprisoned with her child under 2 months in a common cell shared with other women. In Santa Catarina there is a growing mobilization in order to discuss this theme. These actions are being led by IDDH with the support of the Prison Council of Joinville, the Public Defender’s Office, the State Board of Human Rights and the Judge of the 3rd Criminal Court of Joinville.
About the organization
The Institute for Development and Human Rights (IDDH) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization created in June 2004 in the city of Joinville, state of Santa Catarina. Its mission is to promote citizenship education in Brazil as a way to prevent human rights violations and they operate through two programs: a) Research and Training: they develop innovative materials and methodologies to work with different groups; b) Advocacy: they promote and monitor public policies related to education and human rights, through articulation and strategic litigation, both locally and internationally.
NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning (Geneva/Switzerland).
United Nations (UN).
Brazilian Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy.
MERCOSUR Social and Participatory Program.
Criminal Justice and Human Rights
Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice