Conectas and other organizations defend the right to education for prisoners in public hearing at São Paulo State Legislative Assembly
September 15, 2011
On September 21, the public hearing entitled “Guidelines for Education in Prisons” was held in the São Paulo State Legislative Assembly (Alesp). The event, attended by lawmakers and representatives of civil society, was organized to discuss the implementation of the National Education Guidelines for youth and adults detained in São Paulo state prison facilities.
Conectas and other civil society organizations had requested this public hearing from Alesp’s Commission on Education and Culture. Serving on the panel chaired by São Paulo state representative Simão Pedro were Ester Rizzi of Ação Educativa, Father Valdir of the Catholic Church’s Pastoral Carcerária prison care service, and Lucia Casali of Funap (Professor Manoel Pedro Pimentel Foundation), the organization responsible for overseeing education in São Paulo’s prisons.
Ester Rizzi presented a public manifesto (click here
to read in Portuguese) from nine civil society organizations on the result of the state government’s Working Group “Education in the São Paulo State Prison System”. The document lists criticisms of the current government proposals for state policy on the issue, such as the proposal for educational activities to be carried out by the Prison Administration Department and its associated bodies.
There was a consensus among the participants that the São Paulo Education Department should be responsible for providing education in the state’s prisons, as the National Guidelines recommend.
“The guaranteed access to the right to education should be universal. Depriving prisoners of this right is discriminatory, and reinforces a sense of exclusion that already exists in the lives of these people,” said Vivian Calderoni, a lawyer for Conectas.
No proposal on the topic was approved at the hearing because a quorum was not reached for voting, as only five of the six representatives needed on the Commission on Education and Culture were in attendance. As a result, the meeting was purely informational and another hearing will be staged before the end of the year.