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Espacio Mandela celebrates 4 years contributing to the social reintegration in prisons

August 21, 2018
Communications Colunga Foundation

The initiative supported by the Colunga Foundation seeks to contribute to the process of reintegration of people with a high degree of delictual commitment.

In the South Santiago Preventive Detention Center, the fourth anniversary of Espacio Mandela was held, an integral intervention that provides training, school leveling, psychosocial support and intra-prison work for people deprived of liberty, focused on multi-incidents, refractory and with no or minimal previous intervention.

Photo of Gendarmería de Chile. Celebration. 

We talked with the teacher Miguel Carmona, who has been working in Espacio Mandela for 3 years with the inmates of the first level, those who have just entered jail. He told us that they start from the creation of models with sticks of ice cream, to manufacture mini furniture. It is a year with them, before they move on to the second level, but it is in two months that they begin to see the positive changes in their students. Changes in behavior and decrease in violence. 

"We are paying our penalties, but our personality has changed, I've been here for two years and I've changed a lot. I got to the bad and they welcomed me with the same open arms. Here they look at us as people, not as a number. Trust us because we need your support to be with our family. We are not going to fail you. We will continue fighting because we already have a guarantee of having learned, "he said. Luis Echeverría in his testimony about his experience in Espacio Mandela.

Photo of Gendarmería de Chile. Luis Echeverría

"Mandela is an area of inclusion for all, but we are in debt. Life is very fragile in certain sectors. I hope there is a change of political view of what happens in prisons, because this is an opportunity for life to flourish in prison. I am sure that the prisons will be a space for the repair of human life and not just for punishment, "he said. Luis Roblero, National Gendarmerie Chaplain.

Photo of Gendarmería de Chile. Luis Roblero.

From Fundación Colunga, it is precisely this change of life that prompted support for the project. "We bet on Espacio Mandela because it works on a key issue for our country reality and it is a place that dignifies the human being and delivers concrete tools for social reinsertion", comments Arturo Celedón, Executive Director of Fundación Colunga.

The first Mandela Space was created in the South Santiago Preventive Detention Center, and currently supports 450 men and women from 5 locations in Santiago, Valparaíso, La Serena and Puerto Montt. From the Ministry of Justice, they announced a pilot project for the year 2019, where the model of the Mandela Space is to be applied in all the penitentiary centers throughout the country.

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