What is it about?
Prison work and professional training can be decisive to promote the resocialization of former inmates. The Replanting Life program (Programa Replantando Vidas) employs, trains, and remunerates inmates to work in forest restoration activities. We evaluated the program’s environmental benefits and prisoners’ motivation and perception changes after working with forest restoration. Recidivism rates among the participants were also determined. P.S. The program is conducted by the Rio de Janeiro State Company of Water and Sewage (“Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos do Rio de Janeiro” – CEDAE).
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Between 2015 and 2019, the program’s nurseries produced 1,014,960 seedlings and collected more than 3 tons of seeds from 248 Atlantic Forest species. In this period, 326 prisoners worked in the program for at least a month. The primary motivation that led inmates to seek job opportunities in the program was the right to remission, followed by professional training. Among the benefits perceived by prisoners for their lives, the most mentioned were the increased sense of responsibility, professional training, and family appreciation. The inmates that worked in forest restoration activities had recidivism rates of 22%, which is lower than the national average.
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This page is a summary of: Replanting life: ecological and human restoration, Restoration Ecology, July 2021, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/rec.13493.
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Planting trees with Brazil's prison inmates
With 720,000 incarcerated people, Brazil has the third largest prison population in the world, behind only the United States and China. Many correctional facilities in the country are overcrowded and conditions regularly lead to deadly riots. But one initiative in the state of Rio de Janeiro aims to improve the lives of those behind bars. It uses nature to help them focus on reintegrating into society. Video journalist: Ana Terra Athayde This film is part of the BBC's Crossing Divides season.
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