Law, life and strategical coexistence policy for effective drug regulation in Uruguay
STRATEGY FOR LIFE AND COEXISTENCE
Undoubtedly, for several years now, we have faced the emergence of “violence” as a priority problem for the population.
A violence that emerges with force, the result of long-accumulated processes of exclusion, and that is expressed in many different ways, some more public, others more private.
Among them we highlight:
• Violence in sports events and the massive participation of people in street brawls.
• Systematic violence towards public spaces.
• The sharp increase in violence against people in robberies and assaults.
• Violence between students and between students and teachers in schools and high schools.
• Silent violence in the home and against women, children and the elderly.
• Traffic accidents, particularly with motorcycles and the lack of prevention as well as new ways of driving such as bites or other similar games.
• The events that have occurred, although isolated, in the health system.
All this is in line with a loss of respect for human life and citizen coexistence and that is the heart of the problem that all Uruguayan society (State and citizens) must face.
The value of study, education, culture today does not have a high value in terms of social recognition (not only of social advancement) as they had until the 70s. It is an aspect of society’s values, a phenomenon in relation to which a comprehensive and sufficient response has not been given, in academic, social or political terms. The expectations of social recognition are centered today not on educational and cultural achievements but on the realization of meteoric careers in worlds that end up being unreal for the majority and generate frustrations that affect the current situation of violence.
A strategy that seeks to address public insecurity as a problem must consider coexistence as a solution and have as its main objective to overcome fear in society by guaranteeing human rights and the safety of its inhabitants. Security policy cannot be built on fear, nor be an untimely response to it. The social fracture and the cultural breakdown that still exists in the country partly explain a negative situation that we do not want to be definitively consolidated.
The depth and permanence of the processes of social fracture, cultural breakdown and educational and residential segmentation in our country, added to the growing challenge imposed by the new forms of organized crime, certain patterns of drug use and the increase in the number of People who re-offend in violent forms of criminal activity, suppose the need to think about citizen security problems in their entirety. Added to this is the installation of forms of behavior in our society marked by intolerance and lack of respect for traditional forms of peaceful coexistence, which have been defining the daily landscape in our country for several years.
This is a process that does not start today but which must be answered today to guarantee tomorrow.
However, we cannot fail to take into account the influence that the processes of exclusion from the labor market, from urban spaces, from circulation in the city, from cultural development have had on this situation, which were generated since the 1970s in the dictatorship and that were progressively consolidated in the 90s.
Because in the 90s the productive structure of the country was drastically transformed and work as the central pillar of socialization began to be questioned. In addition, the generation of urban settlements was consolidated in the first instance in the periphery of Montevideo and then spread to the interior of the country. Therefore, the neighborhood and the public space as the second key factor of socialization were losing centrality. And finally, in addition to work and the neighborhood, two other specific areas of inclusion and a sense of belonging suffered significant alterations: education and the family.
The 2002 crisis finally consolidated in Uruguay that growing process of social and cultural marginality, one of whose outstanding characteristics is the change in the patterns of coexistence that existed in Uruguayan society.
It is not by chance that a significant part of this problem is associated with children and adolescents born in the 1990s and after the 2002 crisis.
In terms of security, for years the left has had a monotone discourse that explained criminality and crime by the social and economic factors derived, almost exclusively from the impact of the neo-liberal policies implemented in the country and the region from the second half of the 20th century. Today this explanation, which has a very strong explanatory component, appears insufficient in the comprehensive view.
In the context of a growing country, in which more and more social sectors have access to a broader set of material and immaterial goods, in which both indigence and poverty are reduced, marginality persists and various forms of employment are on the rise. social anomie and transgression.
And this is linked to a way of approaching life from the vision of individual success and the incessant search for higher levels of consumption, which express individual satisfaction in this distorted scale of values.
Consumption is expanding and, with the help of the media that promote the idea of happiness associated with consumption, individuals generate multiple means to obtain those consumerist ends that alter their own citizen coexistence and market the concept of happiness.
This then implies satisfying the daily demand for greater citizen security, without contradicting the objectives of a sustained strategy to improve social coexistence, within a framework of full validity of the rights of all Uruguayans.
Security and democratic coexistence advance with more and better schools or jobs, but this is not enough. Nor are they advancing solely with the increase in penalties, police in the streets and people in prison. It is necessary to articulate a set of actions that achieve a dialectical balance and a synthesis, and that allow to reverse a trend based on intolerance that has deepened in Uruguayan society.
We are convinced that this trend is not destiny. The guidelines for coexistence in a society are part of a set of values and attitudes that are socially validated and function as an agreement. In short, “the coexistence pact is a pact of obviousness” and we can and we must promote alternative values.
It can be changed and we are using all public capacity to build society and coexistence in Uruguay. We must act on the causes but also on the effects of violence. It is essential that Uruguayan society (and the State must be a relevant actor for this) build a social and cultural alternative to dominant and commercialized thought and values that cohesion Uruguayan society.
The coexistence that the vast majority of Uruguayans aspire to enjoy faces a varied range of situations of violence in today’s society. An example of this, as mentioned above, is family violence, especially against children and women, violence in educational centers, in traffic, in sports or cultural events and in public spaces, which are added to the phenomena crimes that occur in society.
Therefore, the proposed strategy combines social coexistence and citizen security. Coexistence, as an exercise of living together and living in the company of others, requires that people adhere to basic norms behavior and respect for the law. Citizen security requires the action of the State in an effort to protect the citizen by fighting crimes and misdemeanors.
The strategy we propose is based on a set of actions from the state level that aim to guarantee the full validity of citizens’ rights to improve social coexistence. But the mere action of the State, although it is a necessary condition, is not enough, it is necessary to involve all the social, cultural and economic forces in this process. The Executive Power will be a central player in this process, but it must be accompanied by the entire political system, by communicators, by artists and athletes, by all actors in society, by the PIT-CNT and the business chambers, the churches, the universities, by the leaders of the sports teams and opinion generators of the media, by the whole of society.
In summary, and as we have noted above, the social and cultural breakdown has impacted Uruguay where poverty and unemployment decrease and fear and violent reactions in society increase, modifying traditional integration values. Given that this is a multidimensional phenomenon and whose origins are long-term in the past, security cannot be conceived only as the set of state policies against crime. These are key, but in your loneliness they are not effective. For this reason, urban planning and security must come together to the extent that the improvement of infrastructures and the use of services and urban public spaces contribute to the improvement of coexistence and security in cities.
The factor of social integration must be incorporated through powerful interventions in infrastructure for coexistence.
Community must be built in the territories, in the sense of favoring belonging to a common project in terms of values on the part of the persons. We must build a city in those places where the failed and absent State is visible. Intervene in the urban fabric with comprehensive actions, whose central meaning is to recover places to be, to live, to exchange. Territorial inequality, which is also expressed in the ratio of square meters of public space per neighborhood, favors public insecurity.
We firmly believe that it is possible to re-weave the social fracture but we must have all the development tools in certain areas of the city aimed at its transformation. We must resort to an “urban acupuncture”, as a precise device of plural but combined interventions in a territory. The intervention points are constituted in the nodes of a network of integration of social services that will have to be woven into the new skin of the city. So that your contact, call us to the caress and not to the distance.
Overcoming collective fear in public space must be the priority strategy to recover the city as a scene of transit, exchange and generator of encounters. The purpose is to provide equipment for coexistence and enjoyment of life with a fine aesthetic sense and high functionality. The best for those who need it most to be able to settle a historical debt and guarantee the viability of the country as a common life project.
And it is in this sense that social policies in the territory that are articulated and not dispersed, self-accumulated in their impacts and coordinated by MIDES play a key role in the process of building a strategy for citizen coexistence.
Authority, reciprocity and coexistence
The focus of the Coexistence and Citizen Security strategy is centered on three key definitions: the exercise of authority; the practice of reciprocity and the development of coexistence.
The exercise of authority implies that the government legitimized by the popular will fulfills its duties within the rules of the rule of law and with strict respect for democratic institutions and the rights of the people. Based on this, it uses each and every one of the legal instruments to make effective the right to the protection of people against violence.
The practice of reciprocity implies that there are rights and obligations. The State must guarantee security while respecting human rights. We will not respond to the illegitimate violence of crime with more irrational violence from the State. The “strong hand” policies have proven to be inefficient and with a clear tendency to move towards the “brute and unjust hand”. We will appeal to prevention as a strategic and philosophical north, because we are convinced of it, but we do not hesitate to apply dissuasive or repressive measures at all times, within the framework of the Constitution and the law when it is necessary to guarantee the right to citizen security. .
The development of coexistence is the guarantee of a safer society. The problem is not only crime, but also the culture of intolerance, tension and daily violence that Uruguayan society has built in recent years. The central pillar is to promote and develop civic culture understood as the set of behaviors, values, attitudes and perceptions shared by members of a society and that determine the forms and quality of coexistence, influence respect for the common heritage, and they facilitate or hinder the recognition of citizens’ rights and duties.
The comprehensiveness of the response
The strategy for Life and Coexistence is built on four central pillars, which in their deployment guarantee the integrality and reasonable balance that must be had.
1) Regulatory adaptation to strengthen coexistence
Just as coexistence is the pact of the obvious, legal instruments are agreements stipulated by societies that respond to specific circumstances. Periodically they must be adjusted because societies include permanence and change in their behavior as a distinctive dynamic. The rules to be fair have to be relevant to their time and account for reality.
In this context, the Executive Power will submit a series of initiatives to the Parliament that aim to improve the rules that will strengthen coexistence in society, as well as develop others within the framework of the rules currently in force.
Today there is a set of actions that the State is already carrying out in the matter of citizen coexistence, with an axis on the social integration projects of the Social Cabinet coordinated by MIDES and that will be integrated into the framework proposed in this document.
On account of the development that each of these measures will have, we announce the discussion of bills that take into account:
• Reparation to crime victims with the establishment of a national compensation fund for victims of violent crimes (pensions or other alternatives for family members). It requires a bill that will be sent to parliament.
• Increased penalties in case of police corruption and base paste trafficking. Requires bill.
• Modifications to the Childhood and Adolescence Code regarding the regulations governing juvenile offenders. Requires bill.
• Code of Criminal Procedure, insist on the sanction of the project under study in the Legislative Power.
• Offenses: work on eliminating a number of fouls that are no longer valid and maintain those that are necessary, and re-create the Courts of Offenses.
• Comprehensive approach to the problems of people affected by problematic drug use and their environment, which implies the generation of a comprehensive and inter-institutional strategy to act on the main consequences of drug use, in particular cocaine base paste.
• Creation of judicial mechanisms specialized in drug dealing
• Regulated and controlled legalization of marijuana. Requires bill.
On the other hand, we are already working hard on substantive aspects of the process that we are analyzing and we will strengthen those actions in terms of the use of public spaces, the internment of addicts, intrapersonal and family violence, and traffic accidents.
Just to support these initiatives, we comment that:
Use of Public Spaces
A determined and systematic action to prohibit the use of public space for sleeping or camping should be conceived as a strategy that aims to guarantee human rights, first of all, of those who sleep and live on the street. We all understand that it is necessary to defend people’s rights even when they do not want it or show a contrary attitude. This action is the logical consequence of a State that is rebuilding a welfare and social protection system and does not turn its face on this problem. But also, it must be conceived as a decision to enforce the rights of all citizens.
We know that at present there are no installed capacities to assume in the available centers the type of adequate treatments for what we have called hard core in the street situation. We know that we are facing a heterogeneous, changing, vulnerable population that is reluctant to approach the various care devices, which is why it is necessary to increase creative capacity, make actions more flexible, train personnel and have human and material resources , in addition to carrying out multiple articulations and intervention protocols coordinated with other services and entities to intervene in the street, through the support of other specialized networks such as attention to problematic substance use, mental health, among others.
For this reason we understand it necessary for the State as a whole to develop response strategies, with centers that are prepared to receive people in life situations or cycles of their pathologies that do not make it possible for them to adapt to the service that MIDES provides today and they do not have response in other parts of the State.
This means defining a budget for this population, guaranteeing the infrastructure and equipment necessary for this purpose.
A comprehensive approach to people affected by problematic drug use.
It is proposed to expand the installation of devices aimed at the Reduction of Risks and Damages of citizens affected by drug use, which implies the installation of:
• Hospital Teams for Immediate Response in Addictive Crises – ERICA.
• Proximity devices: Listening and referral centers.
• Mobile clinics or hospitals (for Montevideo and Canelones).
• Development of Regional Centers for the 2nd. and 3rd. Level of attention.
• Care and treatment centers for persons deprived of liberty.
• Outpatient treatment, maintenance and relapse prevention devices.
Altogether, the intervention to be carried out will have a total coverage of 1,970 people.
The whole of this proposal implies 520 interventions of proximity or intervention in the emergency.
Direct care from the Day Centers will involve 780 outpatient places.
Likewise, at least 120 people deprived of liberty will participate in the initiative, who will be able to address their problems on an “outpatient basis” in the same prison facilities.
In hospitalization centers of 2nd and 3rd Level of Care, there will be 550 residential places.
For the purposes of managing the set of initiatives outlined in this proposal, a Public Consortium for the Reduction of Drug Demand will be constituted, made up of the Sub-secretaries who are members of the JND directly involved in the issue.
In 1995, Uruguayan legislation incorporated the crime of domestic violence into the Penal Code with the approval of Law No. 16,707 on Citizen Security. In July 2002, the Uruguayan Parliament approved Law No. 17,514 or the Law of Domestic Violence.
The central strategy is the Public Attention Services guaranteeing the presence of the Ministry of Social Development at the territorial level in the specific task of addressing the problem of gender-based domestic violence. The national services, despite the law, were based in 2005 only in Montevideo, today they are in 13 departments and in 2014 they were already planned in the 19 departments.
At the same time, in January 2009, an Agreement was signed between the Ministry of Housing, Land Management and the Environment (MVOTMA) and the Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) for the implementation of measures that promote access to housing for women in general and women with dependents and / or in a situation of domestic violence in particular.
At the same time, short-stay houses for women in situations of life-threatening domestic violence are being developed in Montevideo and 2 departments of the interior, with national scope:
In turn, in the orbit of the Ministry of the Interior, it will be launched in the next weeks the Specialized Information System for complaints of Domestic Violence. This information system will enable us to capture better the problem of domestic violence, which in many cases are classified as other crimes (injuries, threats, private violence, etc.) This module incorporates parameters that allow the construction of risk indicators that help the police who intervene in each situation to evaluate the situation that is presented and define with greater precision the strategy of protection of the victims.
Finally, we understand that all these measures and those that already exist must be accompanied by a very strong commitment from the media.
The substantive fall in poverty, the almost eradication of extreme poverty, the lowest unemployment in history, the improvements in real wages, etc., none of this is reflected in the importance they have in the mass media.
The same does not happen with the crime report. In 2006 there were just over 25,000 seconds per month dedicated to police issues, in May 2011 police news occupied 35,000 seconds, while in May 2012 it was more than 50,000.
And it is not only a quantitative problem, but a qualitative one, as the media, especially TV, no longer only reflect reality but can amplify and multiply it, by generating images and information that even end, even if it is not their intention, exalting violence and encouraging aggressive behaviors.
This happens when some media handle the information in an irresponsible and sensationalist way, turning the information into a spectacle, either by reiterating images of excessive violence or displaying images that are ostensibly cruel or that exalt the suffering of people or other living beings.
That is why we have to reflect, together with the media, its workers and all citizens, on how to find a healthy balance between the right of the media to report on matters of public interest with the rights that people have before those media.
Regulation cannot be a mechanism to silence the media or prevent it from reporting things that unfortunately happen, but it must also be said, emphatically, that the media have inescapable obligations and responsibilities towards society.
In particular, regarding the rights of the most vulnerable people: the boys and girls of this country. They are the ones who are exposed to programs and content that can seriously damage their development, and therefore become the main concern of this government in relation to the media and the strategy for life and coexistence.
Vast international and even national regulations recognize and regulate the rights of children before the media, in the understanding of the importance that these media have in the formation of meanings and values.
All countries in the world without distinction have regulations to protect them from the abusive exposure of certain content that is disseminated in the media. Among them, we believe that there is no basis for the rule that regulates the hours of protection of the minor to exclude the news, for which we propose to understand all the programming.
We intend to review and apply the current regulations that Uruguay already has in this regard, carrying out effective controls and stimulating the active and informed participation of the population in defense of their rights. But at the same time we believe it is essential to propose to the media themselves and their workers, to develop forms of self-regulation adopted by themselves, in a free, transparent and voluntary manner, and with the widest citizen participation.
2) Improvement of police efficiency and transparency.
In improving citizen security, it is key to improve police effectiveness through a set of tools that professionalize management based on knowledge and applied intelligence.
In this direction, the installation of a work system in the Police Stations is promoted based on results-based management and control of indicators, patrol systems based on scientific evidence, intensive use of geographic information systems for police intervention, adaptation to the territory of the operational deployment of the Police mainly in the metropolitan area, quality management in police communication systems and permanent systems to control overflows and police corruption.
The National Police has had a strong budgetary support as never in its history that translates into a significant increase in salaries, improvement of equipment and technology. Today society is in a position to have more and better results in the prevention and repression of crime.
3) System of conflict mediation centers in the metropolitan area.
It is proposed to strengthen the system of mediation and conflict negotiation centers in some areas of the metropolitan area at two levels: the neighborhood area and the educational centers. (The Supreme Court of Justice has already worked on this and there is a work of the Mec in that sense in the educational centers as well)
At the community level, the purpose is to develop and promote non-violent conflict resolution mechanisms that improve coexistence and interpersonal relationships, particularly in areas where there has been an increase in violence and crime caused by fights, disputes and problems of neighborhood.
In the case of educational centers, an experience of creating and strengthening mediation spaces is proposed, initially in various locations of the Metropolitan Area and the interior of the country, combining the contributions of the Judicial Power, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of the Interior and the Cabinet Social, Intendances and Municipalities, Law Faculties and Law students (taking the antecedent of neighborhood legal clinics), in interaction with social organizations.
In secondary education it is intended to combine an intervention that amalgamates student participation and organization, together with conflict mediation. In high schools, a device will be installed to train and install the figure of Young Mediators. These are adolescents who, being chosen and recognized by their peers, are trained in mediation techniques and negotiation of interpersonal conflicts to be a link with the environment. In turn, there will be a training program for teachers on managing conflict and violence situations in schools.
The adolescent counseling that will be installed this year in conjunction with MIDES and MSP will contribute to this.
4) Equipment and infrastructure for coexistence and intensive use of public spaces.
The objective is to create new centralities in some neighborhoods of the metropolitan area, providing them with multipurpose enclaves with infrastructure for coexistence. Building a city and improving urban planning are pertinent and necessary responses. The political objective is to favor the intensive use of public spaces to improve cohesion social and coexistence, and therefore guarantee the exercise of the right to the city.
The facilities will have sports infrastructure, spaces for cultural activities and equipment for social and recreational activities. In turn, public services aimed at social integration will be installed, synergizing with programs and initiatives already implemented by ministries and government agencies. High quality and fine aesthetic sense.
These spaces must be transformed into the concrete expression of a modality of intergenerational and inter-neighborhood coexistence in a public space. It aims to be an icon and a metaphor for society’s commitment to the issue: rebuilding the urban fabric and locating the neighborhood and the neighborhood as a place to live and share and not as a space won by insecurity, lack of control and limits.
In this context, it is considered pertinent to start a path to crystallize an inclusive strategy that can be synthesized in “More neighborhood and more life.
More neighborhood because the objective is to strengthen the urban fabric, improve coexistence and face-to-face contact. It seeks to recover habitability and close relationships between the people of the communities.
More life because the core of all the actions aims to raise the quality of life of the selected populations, strengthening self-esteem and the sense of belonging to society. More life is therefore more effective citizenship.
Accountability will already include the financing of this coexistence strategy for the next three years.
SUMMARY OF MEASURES OF THE STRATEGY FOR LIFE AND COEXISTENCE IN URUGUAY
a) Reparation for crime victims with the establishment of a national compensation fund for victims of violent crimes (pensions or other alternatives for family members).
b) Increased penalties in the case of police corruption and base paste trafficking.
c) Modifications to the Childhood and Adolescence Code regarding the regulations governing juvenile offenders.
d) Elimination of the classification of a series of conducts as “misdemeanors” and maintenance of those with a real impact on citizen insecurity, adapting the procedural mechanisms for their effective sanction by the Judicial Power, re-creating the Misdemeanor Courts.
e) Comprehensive approach to the problem of people affected by problematic drug use and their environment, which implies: the generation of a comprehensive and inter-institutional strategy to act on the main consequences of drug use, particularly cocaine base paste. Accountability will include funding for this approach strategy.
f) Creation of specialized judicial mechanisms in drug dealing
g) Regulated and controlled legalization of marijuana.
h) We believe that there is no basis in the norm that regulates the hours of protection of the minor, for which we propose to understand all the programming.
i) Promote, in dialogue with the media, its workers, universities and civil society, the adoption of forms of self-regulation in the management of information related to security and violence, as well as their involvement in the promotion of values and rights, to achieve a better coexistence.
j) In order to improve police efficiency and transparency, a set of quality management programs are presented based on:
- Installation of a work system in Police Stations based on results-based management and control of indicators,
- A new patrol system based on scientific evidence through the intensive use of geographic information systems for police intervention,
- Adaptation to the territory of the operational deployment of the Police, mainly in the metropolitan area through the creation of zones and new police stations in the metropolitan area.
- Installation of a Specialized Laboratory for Drug Analysis that will allow the identification of their components and proceed ( based on the result of the analysis) applying the announced regulations.
- Installation of a quality management system in all police communication systems, in particular in those that are directly related to the attention to citizens.
- Strengthening of permanent systems and procedures to control overflows and police corruption.
k) It is proposed to strengthen the system of mediation and conflict negotiation centers in some areas of the metropolitan area at two levels: the neighborhood area and the educational centers. (The Supreme Court of Justice has already worked on this and there is a work of the Mec in that sense in educational centers as well)
l) In secondary education, the intention is to combine an intervention that amalgamates student participation and organization, together with conflict mediation. In high schools, a device will be installed to train and install the figure of Young Mediators. These are adolescents who, being chosen and recognized by their peers, are trained in mediation techniques and negotiation of interpersonal conflicts to be a link with the environment.
m) We propose to generate new centralities in some neighborhoods of the metropolitan area through coexistence squares with facilities that will have sports infrastructure, spaces for cultural activities and equipment for social and recreational activities. In turn, public services aimed at social integration will be installed, synergizing with programs and initiatives already implemented by ministries and government agencies.
n) Specialized Information System for complaints of Domestic Violence. This information system will enable us to better understand the problem of domestic violence, which in many cases is classified as other crimes (injuries, threats, private violence, etc.). This module incorporates parameters that allow the construction of risk indicators that help the police. who intervenes in each situation to evaluate the situation that arises and to define with greater precision the strategy for the protection of the victims.
o) Improvement in education and traffic control in all the cities of the country through the cooperation of the National Highway Police, collaborating with the departmental governments and the traffic directorates in the municipalities.
Source: Interior Ministry Uruguay