Social reintegration is a concept used to define the set of systematic actions that are carried out to re-include in society an individual who for some reason has been marginalized by it.
Although the term is generally used for cases of people deprived of their liberty for breaking the law, it can also be applied to initiatives taken to integrate foreigners, victims of traumatic or violent events, addicts and the mentally ill, among others.
Social reintegration seeks to favor the integration of marginalized and condemned people into society. Source: pixabay.com
The idea of social reintegration is present in communities that see themselves as entities that offer help and containment to their members. Its goal is to ensure that individuals outside the system can re-enter.
To this end, specific programs are usually developed that include therapeutic and psychological support, education, training in crafts, sports and physical exercises, access to cultural activities, health and assistance and promotion of social relationships.
In the case of people convicted of violating the rules, the reintegration process begins during the sentence period and continues when they regain their freedom.
Its objective is to reduce the chances of recurrence and to obtain a readjustment in society so that they do not commit a crime again.
Concept of social reintegration
The concept of social reintegration is first integrated by the word “reintegration”, which comes from the Latin “reinsert” and means to reinsert.
From an etymological point of view, this term is formed by the repetition prefix “re” and the verb “insert”, in the sense of “introduction”. It refers to the act or action of returning someone to a place where they had left voluntarily or involuntarily.
For its part, the adjective “social” refers to a society, understood as the group of individuals who share a culture and history and live under the same rules.
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This word comes from the Latin “socialis”, which can be translated as “belonging to the community of people”. It consists of the terms “socius”, which means “partner”, and the suffix “-al”, synonymous with “relative to”.
The concept of social reintegration is based on the idea that a person’s wrong behaviors are the result of a failure in the socialization process. Therefore, the system opens up the possibility of a new integration, through re-education and rehabilitation.
On the contrary, the death penalty and life imprisonment are opposing notions, as they imply the impossibility of a readjustment for the community.
Importance of social reintegration
In ancient Greece, the philosopher Socrates (470 BC – id., 399 BC) argued that no one acted deliberately wrong, but did it out of ignorance. He believed that in order to do good, you first needed to know him.
The same was the opinion of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), one of the most important thinkers of the Enlightenment, who explained that man was good by nature, but was forced by a society that corrupted him.
For his part, the Spanish poet and essayist Concepción Arenal (1820-1893) said that it was necessary to hate crime, but he felt sorry for the offender and that, when schools were opened, prisons would be closed.
Today, the idea that social reintegration is possible, mainly through education, is present in most communities.
In addition to offering a new opportunity to the marginalized, experts say these programs are also one of the most effective and efficient ways to reduce crime.
This is because, by correcting the conduct of convicts, recidivism is avoided.
Social reintegration in Mexico, Colombia and Chile
Resocialization should be the goal of treatment in prison. Source: pixabay.com
In Mexico, social reintegration is provided for in Article 18 of the General Constitution of the Republic. There it is stated that “the prison system will be organized based on respect for human rights, work, training, education, health and sport as a means of achieving the reintegration of the condemned person into society and ensuring that he does not return. commit crime “.
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Meanwhile, the 2016 National Criminal Enforcement Act establishes the development of a comprehensive system of reintegration and ongoing support for convicts and their families, which continues after their release.
In Colombia, Article 4 of the Penal Code – Law 599 – establishes that the sanctions will fulfill “the functions of social reintegration and protection of the sentenced person”.
In turn, the Council of State, in its judgment of October 12, 1993, emphasizes that it must seek the “readjustment of the prisoner to social and community life, to correct the flaws that led him to commit the crime and I can go back to society when I recover.
In turn, the Constitutional Court, in its judgment No. C-549/94, understands that resocialization is the objective of treatment in prison “through discipline, work, study, spiritual formation, culture, sport and recreation, under a human and solidary spirit ”.
Meanwhile, in Chile, Decree-Law 2,859, of 1979, establishes that the gendarmerie is responsible for assisting, monitoring and contributing to the social reintegration of persons detained or deprived of their liberty.
Within this body, he points to the Technical Sub-Directorate as responsible for the development of institutional programs and projects for this purpose, ensuring the permanent improvement of the prison system.
In addition, in order to make social reintegration feasible, Decree-Law No. 409 allows convicted persons to eliminate their criminal records for all legal and administrative purposes, after two years of compliance with the first sentence.
Likewise, Decree No. 518 regulates actions in prisons and the manner in which this rehabilitation will be carried out. In this sense, it establishes several exit permissions, conceived as benefits granted under a progressive system of enforcement of sentences.
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In turn, Decree No. 943 specifically structures the way in which the gendarmerie should carry out the work of the people under its control, for which education and work centers have been created.
Finally, social reintegration is among the fundamental rights that Mexico, Colombia and Chile must respect for having ratified the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (PIDCP).