A Uruguayan government plan for former prisoners to collaborate with the police sparks controversy

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Faced with the rejection of the opposition and the doubts of specialists, an audio of the National Director of the Police went viral, forbidding hierarchs to speak publicly about the subject< /h2> Uruguayan Interior Minister Luis Alberto Heber said the plan “has been successful in the United States and European countries.”

The Uruguayan Ministry of the Interior announced a plan to prevent homicides linked to contacting former prisoners so they can do “field work” and collaborate with the police. The announcement fell badly within the police and was criticized by the opposition, mainly because the news was released on a television program.

The Uruguayan interior minister himself was the one who informed about the plan that copies a model that worked successfully in the United States, and that is based on the concept of “peer work.” There are still no clear measures on this program, which would begin to be applied only in 2024, when the authorities plan to sign the agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Start working with an approximate amount of about USD 10 million.

To explain the objective, Minister Luis Alberto Heber said that the idea is to “recruit people who were linked to crime, reintegrated into society, but have communication and knowledge in the neighborhood to establish the bridge that the police cannot do.” In the last few days, the homicide figures for 2022 were released, and the numbers continue to rise.

In the first half of 2022, homicides increased 39, 3%compared to the same period in 2021, going from 135 to 188. This is the only crime on which the government can report on its evolution, since the other serious ones such as theft, robbery and gender-based violence, only talk of an increase or cancellation of complaints.

A Uruguayan government plan for former prisoners to collaborate with the police generates controversy

The Uruguayan Minister of the Interior made the announcement on a television program. This way of communicating such an important measure was harshly criticized.

But why is the government proposing to go after the ex-prisoners< /b>, according to the minister, it is to be able to understand the causes that make people commit crimes, and in this case they believe that the best interlocutors are people who have gone through similar situations. They are going to work in the neighborhoods and function as intermediaries.

Heber said the plan “has been successful in the United States and European countries.” “We have our heads open to listen, if it had results in other parts of the world, I don't see why it can't have results here,” said the minister.

They tried to silence the Police< /h2>

The topic already had enough media noise due to the lack of a clear plan, with criticismfrom different sectors, but it worsened with the viralization of a WhatsApp message. That generated the opposite of what was sought.

In an audio that went viral, the National Director of the Uruguayan Police, Diego Fernández, prohibited hierarchs from talking about a plan to reduce crimes.

The director of the National Police, Diego Fernández, sent a audio in which he is heard asking police chiefs and directors not to speak publicly about the plan announced by the Minister of the Interior, to prevent homicides.

“To the heads and directors, to have uniformity of criteria: before any question, both from journalists and politicians, or anyone who asks about the idea that the minister announced yesterday, with the loan from the IDB [Inter-American Bank Development], work with neighborhood leaders to prevent homicides and work with former inmates, zero comment. Do not make any comments, neither for nor against. Nothing; zero comment”, indicates the audio reported by la Diaria.

A Uruguayan government plan for ex-prisoners to collaborate with the police generates controversy

The National Chief of Police of Uruguay prohibited his subordinates from speaking on the subject through an audio that went viral.

The president of the police union (Sifpom), Patricia Rodríguez, reacted ironically after Fernández's message became known. “Everyone be quiet, like the owl that shhhh,” he wrote through his Twitter account.

Consulted by radio Sarandí, the police said that this idea seems to be taken from an adviser , and that he does not see that it is very easy to apply in the Uruguayan prison system. In her understanding, there are many conditions that must be improved, including buildings and overcrowding prison.

A Uruguayan government plan for ex-prisoners to collaborate with the police generates controversy

The police union spoke out against the media, and requested more dialogue with decision-making authorities.

A confusion of ideas

Not only the workers and the opposition party to the government came across this idea, the former director of the National Police, Mario Layera, considered it “a confusion of ideas.” In addition, he warned that it will lead criminals “to pay attention to these announcements to see who would be an informant”.

For the former Uruguayan national police chief , which was recognized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, better known by its acronym DEA for its work against drug trafficking, said it is not known how the program will be monitored. “There are a lot of variables that are not clear either, such as objectives, deadlines and timing,” he said.

“The people that are going to be used in this case are inmates who would be< b> rehabilitated , but it is not known what the evaluation will be in this sense or how it will be contracted. It is a negative fuel charge for the homicide problem,” Layera opined on Radio Fénix.

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