Conectas and other civil society organizations present proposals and emphasize the importance of the Office to uphold the rights of the prison population
September 23, 2011
On September 16, the Higher Council of the São Paulo Public Defender’s Office staged a public hearing to address its institutional policy for the effective treatment of pretrial detainees.
Conectas and other civil society organizations participated in the hearing with public defenders, in which issues concerning legal services for pretrial detainees and the monitoring of prison conditions were discussed.
“The main demand from pretrial detainees is for procedural information. This aspect should be considered a priority for the Office,” said Marcos Fuchs, associate director at Conectas. He explained that the inmates are not familiar with the role of the Public Defender’s Office, making it important for public defenders to maintain a constant presence in Temporary Detention Centers (CDPs).
For the lawyer Vivian Calderoni, who also represented Conectas in this hearing, “it is essential for there to be direct contact between the prisoner and the public defender”. According to the proposal presented by the organization and its partners
during the public consultation held by the Public Defender’s Office, prisoners should have access to legal services in permanent shifts at the CDPs. Meanwhile, the public defender should request an interview with the prisoner in the court house, before the presentation of the preliminary defense. This procedure would ensure the right to an effective defense and avoid it being merely a formality.
The rapporteur of the process, Antônio Mafezzoli, will compile the submitted proposals and the discussions held in the public hearing. Once this process is complete, he will present a final proposal to be put to a vote.