DLSU-D Interns Join the Women’s Month Celebration with HLAF

HLAF is continuing to promote Womens right, justice, and Women empowerment. During Women’s Month. Along with DLSU-D interns, HLAF conducted Focused Group Discussions (FGD) at different city jails in the Philippines, Jail Visitation, and Podcast about Women Empowerment.  

Women In Conflict with Law (WICLs) from different jails actively participated in a series of questions addressing various aspects of their experiences, from their initial arrest to their accommodation in both Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) dormitories, access to healthcare, family and lawyer visitations, and available programs from either facility. Every meeting is inclusive, which provides a secure space where women PDLs can openly express their experiences and opinion without discrimination, fear, or shame. These focused group discussions (FGDs) also serve as a platform for HLAF to inform PDLs about their rights and offer legal advice. Women PDLs are not only encouraged to voice their experiences but are also assured that their voices are equally heard and valued. 

DLSU-D Interns join HLAF for a jail visitation at Manila City Jail Female Dormitory. The interns were able to be a part of: The Paralegal Aide Training Graduation Ceremony was held for the select Women PDL’s who completed their training and were deemed fit to become guides for their fellow PDL’s towards a hopeful future of freedom with the accompaniment of BJMP Paralegal JNOR JO1 Chervin Loewe Navilla and City Jail Warden JSUPT Marizen S Sese. Interns also talked with some of the jail personnel about the situation of women inside the Manila City Jail. Interns also gain insights through Focused Group Discussion on the experiences of WICL.

Warden JSUPT Marizen S. Sese expressed her appreciation for HLAF. “On behalf of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), I extend our heartfelt appreciation to HLAF for their continuous assistance, particularly in conducting Paralegal Training programs. These initiatives have significantly contributed to the empowerment and welfare of our PDLs, as well as our personnel. Having paralegal aides in every jail facility is a big help on legal matter concerning the cases of our PDLs lalo na sa mga PDLs natin na walang pamilya o kamag-anak na nag-aasikaso ng kanilang mga kaso napakalaking bagay ang ginagampanan ng ating mga paralegai aides.”

Podcast Series for Women’s Month Launched by DLSU-D Interns. An enlightening podcast series, “Laya’t Lakas: Women’s Path to Liberation,” celebrates Women’s Month with insightful discussions and inspiring speakers hosted by DLSU-D Interns. The first part of the podcast focuses on the critical importance of legal rights awareness, the unique challenges women face in legal settings, and strategies for empowerment. The second part highlights the indispensable role of healthcare for women and discusses women’s rights, bringing the podcast series to a compelling conclusion.

Through this Women’s Month, HLAF will continue to promote and honor the value of women and their indisputable right to equality. 

Breaking Barriers, Transforming Lives: 2023 HLAF Accomplishments

HLAF’s accomplishment in 2023 showcased efforts to challenge societal barriers and transform the lives of its beneficiaries. It highlights the advocacies for forwarding inclusive policies, equal rights, and access to justice, emphasizing the transformative effect on individuals, families, and different communities.

HLAF facilitated the release of 882 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) all over the Philippines together with interns and volunteers. 1,407 Case Consultations and follow-ups were provided to PDLs. Because of the unending support of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, HLAF’s case consultations and follow-up offered individualized support tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each PDL, fostering trust, providing assistance, and promoting hope for those who may have lost it.

PDLs gained a better understanding of their legal situation, procedural rights, and potential pathways for legal recourse. Throughout the years, HLAF has proved that highlighting systemic issues within the legal system affecting PDLs potentially led to advocacy for broader legal reforms and improvements.

HLAF’s expertise has helped in developing and implementing strategies to alleviate overcrowding in jail facilities and bahay pag-asas ensuring better living conditions and access to essential services for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), children in conflict with the law, and those at risk.

HLAF advocated for policy reforms that address systemic issues affecting PDL and former inmates, leading to improved conditions and rights protection. HLAF developed and provided evidence-based interventions that address the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates.

HLAF capacitated persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and equipped them with essential legal knowledge, enabling them to understand their rights, navigate legal processes, and advocate for themselves within the justice system. The training increased PDLs’ access to legal assistance and representation, improving their ability to defend their rights and seek legal remedies. Trained PDLs served as advocates and sources of support for their fellow detainees, contributing to a more equitable and informed environment inside jails.

There were 264 children whose rights, welfare, and well-being were promoted, forwarded, and protected because of the capacity training programs to more than 2,300 government employees, jail officers, local child protection officers, barangay officials, and other groups on different topics such as Human Rights, Juvenile Justice, and Restorative Justice which promoted values, beliefs, and attitudes that encouraged them and their beneficiaries, especially those most vulnerable people to uphold their rights and those of other individuals.

HLAF’s structured visits involve organizing a planned and systematic visit for the duty-bearers (such as government officials, policymakers, or donors) to interact with individuals or communities who have benefitted from HLAF’s programs and activities.

HLAF facilitated open discussions between the duty bearers being capacitated and successful beneficiaries, focusing on the challenges and achievements in accessing justice, promoting human rights, and forwarding inclusive policies for children.

HLAF collaborated with different provinces to help establish local justice zone coordinating councils toward promoting better quality of access to justice especially for those remote or marginalized communities.

Moreover, HLAF facilitated discussions and encouraged community involvement in the administration of justice, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility in addressing local legal issues. Throughout the years, HLAF’s presence in the Local Justice Zones contributed to strengthening the rule of law at the grassroots level, promoting accountability, transparency, and fairness in resolving legal matters.

HLAF’s national conference enhanced the knowledge and skills of Social Workers and Criminologists but also fostered a progressive perspective, encouraging more responsive, sensitive, adaptive, and inclusive intervention programs for individuals in contact with the Criminal Justice System. Social Workers and Criminologists are equipped to comprehend and articulate the circumstances of children, particularly those in contact with the justice system.

There were 26 successfully reintegrated former persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) back into the community. HLAF supported persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and former inmates in transitioning back into society, helping them rebuild their lives, find employment opportunities, and access essential support services.

HLAF fostered community engagement and created pathways for PDL and former inmates to receive support from local organizations and community members as they reintegrate. HLAF helped reduce recidivism rates by providing PDL and former inmates with the necessary support and resources for a successful return to their communities.

HLAF facilitated dialogues and collaboration between duty bearers, correctional facilities, and community organizations to fill gaps in support services and reintegration programs.

HLAF helped raise community awareness about reintegration programs, leading to increased acceptance and understanding of the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates alike. It has contributed to the development of supportive policies and programs tailored to the specific reintegration needs of these groups of people.

HLAF’s reintegration training has provided duty-bearers with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates, such as social stigma, limited access to employment, and the need for community support.

HLAF equipped duty-bearers with skills and knowledge to identify and address specific challenges, such as barriers to housing, employment, and social reintegration.

Breaking Barriers, Transforming Lives: 2023 Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees Accomplishments

HLAF’s accomplishment in 2023 showcased efforts to challenge societal barriers and transform the lives of its beneficiaries. It highlights the advocacies for forwarding inclusive policies, equal rights, and access to justice, emphasizing the transformative effect on individuals, families, and different communities.

There were 26 successfully reintegrated former persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) back into the community. HLAF supported persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) and former inmates in transitioning back into society, helping them rebuild their lives, find employment opportunities, and access essential support services.

HLAF fostered community engagement and created pathways for PDL and former inmates to receive support from local organizations and community members as they reintegrate. HLAF helped reduce recidivism rates by providing PDL and former inmates with the necessary support and resources for a successful return to their communities.

PDL Reintegration Programs are being established in localities

HLAF facilitated dialogues and collaboration between duty bearers, correctional facilities, and community organizations to fill gaps in support services and reintegration programs.

HLAF helped raise community awareness about reintegration programs, leading to increased acceptance and understanding of the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates alike. It has contributed to the development of supportive policies and programs tailored to the specific reintegration needs of these groups of people.

Reintegration Trainings were provided to Duty-Bearers to address former inmates’ needs

HLAF’s reintegration training has provided duty-bearers with a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates, such as social stigma, limited access to employment, and the need for community support.

HLAF equipped duty-bearers with skills and knowledge to identify and address specific challenges, such as barriers to housing, employment, and social reintegration.

Breaking Barriers, Transforming Lives: 2023 Center for Restorative Action Accomplishments

HLAF’s accomplishment in 2023 showcased efforts to challenge societal barriers and transform the lives of its beneficiaries. It highlights the advocacies for forwarding inclusive policies, equal rights, and access to justice, emphasizing the transformative effect on individuals, families, and different communities.

There were 264 children whose rights, welfare, and well-being were promoted, forwarded, and protected because of the capacity training programs to more than 2,300 government employees, jail officers, local child protection officers, barangay officials, and other groups on different topics such as Human Rights, Juvenile Justice, and Restorative Justice which promoted values, beliefs, and attitudes that encouraged them and their beneficiaries, especially those most vulnerable people to uphold their rights and those of other individuals.

Structured Learning Visits to Duty-Bearers were facilitated

HLAF’s structured visits involve organizing a planned and systematic visit for the duty-bearers (such as government officials, policymakers, or donors) to interact with individuals or communities who have benefitted from HLAF’s programs and activities.

HLAF facilitated open discussions between the duty bearers being capacitated and successful beneficiaries, focusing on the challenges and achievements in accessing justice, promoting human rights, and forwarding inclusive policies for children.

Local Justice Zones were organized to promote access to justice

HLAF collaborated with different provinces to help establish local justice zone coordinating councils toward promoting better quality of access to justice especially for those remote or marginalized communities.

Moreover, HLAF facilitated discussions and encouraged community involvement in the administration of justice, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility in addressing local legal issues.

Throughout the years, HLAF’s presence in the Local Justice Zones contributed to strengthening the rule of law at the grassroots level, promoting accountability, transparency, and fairness in resolving legal matters.

A National Conference of Social Workers and Criminologists is conducted

HLAF’s national conference enhanced the knowledge and skills of Social Workers and Criminologists but also fostered a progressive perspective, encouraging more responsive, sensitive, adaptive, and inclusive intervention programs for individuals in contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Social Workers and Criminologists are equipped to comprehend and articulate the circumstances of children, particularly those in contact with the justice system.

Breaking Barriers, Transforming Lives: 2023 Jail Decongestion Accomplishments

HLAF’s accomplishment in 2023 showcased efforts to challenge societal barriers and transform the lives of its beneficiaries. It highlights the advocacies for forwarding inclusive policies, equal rights, and access to justice, emphasizing the transformative effect on individuals, families, and different communities.

There were 882 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) released all over the Philippines together with interns and volunteers. 1,407 Case Consultations and follow-ups were provided to PDLs. Because of the unending support of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, HLAF’s case consultations and follow-up offered individualized support tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each PDL, fostering trust, providing assistance, and promoting hope for those who may have lost it.

PDLs gained a better understanding of their legal situation, procedural rights, and potential pathways for legal recourse. Throughout the years, HLAF has proved that highlighting systemic issues within the legal system affecting PDLs potentially led to advocacy for broader legal reforms and improvements.

HLAF’s expertise is sought by the National Government to address jail congestion and reintegration

HLAF’s expertise has helped in developing and implementing strategies to alleviate overcrowding in jail facilities, ensuring better living conditions and access to essential services for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

HLAF advocated for policy reforms that address systemic issues affecting PDL and former inmates, leading to improved conditions and rights protection.

HLAF developed and provided evidence-based interventions that address the challenges faced by PDL and former inmates.

Persons Deprived of Liberty were empowered in Paralegal Training

HLAF’s trained persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were equipped with essential legal knowledge, enabling them to understand their rights, navigate legal processes, and advocate for themselves within the justice system.

The training increased PDLs’ access to legal assistance and representation, improving their ability to defend their rights and seek legal remedies. Trained PDLs served as advocates and sources of support for their fellow detainees, contributing to a more equitable and informed environment inside jails.

Kaalaman, Karunungan, at Karapatan – An Online Symposium conducted with Ateneo Law School

Over 60 jails and 1,000 PDLs attended the Kaalaman, Karunungan, at Karapatan, an online human rights symposium in partnership with the Ateneo Law School Clinical Legal Education Program, on January 9, 2024.

Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) law students from Ateneo Law School conducted an online symposium entitled “Kaalaman, Karunungan, atKarapatan” which allowed persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) to know and understand different topics such as the Safe Spaces Act and the Good Conduct Time Allowance.

CLEP law students said “As human beings or individuals part of the society, regardless of our status in life, it is important to know and learn about the rights that are inherent in us. As students of the law, we want to serve the people by fighting for their rights and to fight against injustice in our society”.

“We believe that holding this symposium will be very useful and essential for those who are deprived of their liberty and separated from society. By allowing them to know and understand the law as well as to learn more from the lessons imparted to us by our guest speakers, this symposium will be impactful for persons deprived of liberty and even the jail officers who are maintaining, operating, protecting the people behind bars and ensuring their safety”.

HLAF provides an experiential learning opportunity for the Ateneo CLEP law students. By involving them in facilitating such learning sessions, HLAF is offering them practical exposure to legal advocacy and community engagement. HLAF believes this hands-on experience can significantly enhance their understanding of real-world legal challenges and increase their empathy and understanding of the needs of marginalized communities, thereby shaping them into more compassionate and effective legal practitioners in the future.

Additionally, this initiative promotes access to justice for PDLs. By organizing educational symposiums, HLAF is ensuring that PDLs are informed about their rights under relevant laws and regulations. This knowledge empowers them to make more informed decisions about their legal situation, including understanding the mechanisms that may lead to reduced sentences or improved conditions inside correctional facilities.

Furthermore, it helps in fostering a more inclusive and just legal system. By engaging with PDLs and educating them about their rights, HLAF and the participating law students contribute to mitigating the information gap and ensuring that the legal system is accessible to all, regardless of their current circumstances.

HLAF, and the Ateneo CLEP, in this collaborative learning initiative, benefit both the PDLs and the law students, building a more informed community and nurturing the next generation of legal professionals with a strong sense of social responsibility and commitment to justice.

Val, an HLAF Volunteer leads others in an Anti-Discrimination Seminar

Even with minimum supervision, HLAF volunteer Valerie Ancero guides other volunteers during their planned program for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in Talisay City Jail, Talisay, Cebu.

She leads more than twenty-five (25) law student volunteers from the University of San Carlos (USC) in planning and implementing an Anti-LGBT+ PDL Discrimination Seminar for Male and LGBTQ+ PDLs, held on May 9, 2023.

The Anti-Discrimination Seminar to the LGBTQ+ Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) addresses gender-based harassment inside and outside the jail facilities. Moreover, this seminar serves as a vital educational platform to raise awareness about the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly those who are PDLs. It provides an opportunity to elucidate existing laws and legal protections against discrimination and harassment, empowering the LGBTQ+ PDLs to better understand and assert their rights.

This initiative signals a critical step towards combating discrimination and promoting inclusivity within the justice system. By fostering understanding and empathy through education, participants, including law enforcement, correctional officers, and community members, can gain insights into the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ PDLs, leading to positive changes in attitudes and behaviors.

HLAF believes by providing a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ PDLs to voice their experiences, the seminar can help identify instances of gender-based harassment, both within the correctional system and in broader society. This knowledge can inform targeted interventions and policy advocacy to address and prevent such abuses.

This collaborative effort not only empowers LGBTQ+ PDLs but also contributes to building a more inclusive and equitable justice system, where all individuals, regardless of gender identity, are treated with dignity and respect

HLAF Volunteers: A Lesson to Learn

What is volunteerism to you and how did it affect you as a person, student, and member of a community?  

“Volunteerism is a way of giving back to the community. It helped me craft my mission and vision in life and opened my eyes to the sad reality of life given that growing up I was sheltered and provided with everything that I needed.” – Law Student Volunteer

“As I make new connections, learn skills, gain experience through HLAF volunteering, I feel happier and healthier. It is very fulfilling, it helps me improve my mental health and even my academic performance.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Volunteerism is a selfless act and through it, it makes me more humane as a person, student, and member of a community.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering is a selfless act that transcends boundaries, enriches lives, and fosters a sense of community. It is a cornerstone of social progress and an embodiment of our shared humanity. Whether it involves lending a helping hand to those in need, contributing to a cause, or supporting local initiatives, volunteering holds immeasurable importance in our society. In this article, we explore the transformative power of volunteering and the numerous benefits it brings to individuals, communities, and the world at large.

Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc (HLAF) volunteers are a group of dedicated individuals who are passionate about providing legal aid and empowering vulnerable communities. Through their selfless efforts, these volunteers offer valuable support to those in need, ensuring access to justice and advocating for human rights. In this article, we highlight the remarkable work carried out by HLAF volunteers, shedding light on their role in creating a more equitable society.

One quote that you lived by as a HLAF volunteer?  

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF empowers individuals and communities by providing them with the tools and resources they need to create a better future. Through educational programs, vocational training, and community development initiatives, HLAF strives to uplift disadvantaged individuals, equipping them with skills that enable self-sufficiency and economic stability. Volunteering at HLAF is an amazing feat. Especially if one has no experience in dealing with PDLs, or has even had the chance to talk to persons deprived of liberty. The common thought process when it comes to PDLs is that they are horrible people with no good moral standing. 

What were the common misconceptions about PDL’s that you have debunked in your journey as an HLAF member? 

“PDLs are friendly and respectful. Even though they have been inside for a period of time, they are very relatable. They enjoy simple things. They’re grateful. And they care for their family even if they’re away from home.” – Law Student Volunteer

The act of volunteering at HLAF offers immense personal growth and development opportunities. Through service, people can enhance their skills, expand their knowledge, and gain valuable experiences that can shape volunteers’ personal and professional life. Whether it’s honing leadership skills, improving problem-solving abilities, or fostering teamwork and collaboration, volunteering equips people with transferable skills that are highly sought after in various domains. Furthermore, the sense of fulfillment derived from making a positive impact on others’ lives can boost self-esteem, increase sense of purpose, and foster personal happiness.

Expectations vs. Reality. Were your expectations met? Why or Why not?  

“Yes. Before I only intended to share my legal knowledge and learnings to others, but more than that, I have learned a lot of things through my experience with HLAF Volunteering. I did not only give, but I gained.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Yes, I participated in several events that the jail decongestion program of HLAF organized and became a speaker for the recent AsiKaso event. Not only was I able to share my learnings from the study of law but I was also able to learn more from my co-speakers and from the PDLs themselves. The workshop with HLAF also helped the group come up with the event.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF encourages the cultivation of global citizenship by fostering understanding, empathy, and cross-cultural connections. As a volunteer, people have the opportunity to work alongside individuals from diverse backgrounds, gaining a deeper appreciation for different cultures and perspectives. By engaging in meaningful interactions, they can break down barriers, bridge divides, and promote harmony among people from all walks of life. This global outlook not only enriches one’s own life but also contributes to the creation of a more inclusive and compassionate world.

What were your personal experiences with PDLs that created a lasting impression?  

“I have interviewed a minor PDL who was charged with a drug-related offense. She has been regretting the time she has associated herself with (bad influence) barkada which led her to try using drugs in their past times. She was also a product of a broken family, and was neglected most of the time. She became rebellious. At the time when she was arrested, her parents did not even know. She only told them that she was in prison, at the time when her case was closed and she’s waiting for her probation to be approved. She said she never told her parents since would not even bother. She was wrong. Her parents loved her, and they have reconciled their relationship even if she was still detained. In the midst of hardship, she found peace. While in jail, She rekindled her relationship with her parents.” – Law Student Volunteer

“PDLs showed their willingness to change and learn the laws that will help them become better persons and understand their cases fully well.” – Law Student Volunteer

“That they are still people who can sing, dance, and talk just like any other people who are not deprived of liberty.” – Law Student Volunteer

The dedication and compassion demonstrated by Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc volunteers are invaluable in promoting access to justice and empowering vulnerable communities. Through their selfless efforts, they make a significant difference in the lives of those who need it most. By providing legal aid, raising awareness, and advocating for human rights, HLAF volunteers exemplify the power of volunteerism in creating a more equitable and just society. Their work serves as an inspiration to others, highlighting the importance of using one’s skills and resources to uplift and empower those in need.

What are the tips/advice that you can give in order to balance life as a law student and as a volunteer/intern for HLAF?  

“Prioritize commitments; study well not study hard; and remember why you’re doing it in the first place.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Study and analyze the law not just for yourself but also for the people who needs your help such that you can give back by sharing what you learned.” – Law Student Volunteer

“Time management, know your priorities, and one task at a time but if you can multitask then it’s much better.” – Law Student Volunteer

Volunteering at HLAF is not just an act of kindness; it is a transformative experience that has the power to change lives, communities, and even the world. Through dedicated service, people become an agent of positive change, helping those in need, empowering communities, and fostering global understanding. By volunteering at HLAF, people play a vital role in building a brighter future for humanity. So, step forward, lend a helping hand, and join the HLAF community in making a difference—one act of kindness at a time.

Bayanihan: FRED Program of Malabon City

On the 30 of May 2023, 6th floor of Session Hall at Malabon City Hall, the beginning of the program “Ugnayang Laya” took place. It is a program that aims to strengthen the second chance program implementers. The Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation Inc., in partnership with the Malabon mayor, Mrs. Jeannie Sandoval, invited LGUs, NGOs, and other facilities that help with the reintegration of detainees and enhancing the programs that are in place which help rehabilitate them after getting back into society. In the 4-day program, the participants engaged in activities that helped them reflect upon themselves and help with the betterment of the programs for PDLs. Many partook in the debates and open forums, learning about the crucial role of a multidisciplinary team and how coordination is key to aiding the people that need their help. Here are some testimonies that came from the participants of Ugnayang Laya.

“Salamat for the opportunity na pwedeng makatulong sa pdls at sa family nila during reintegration” – Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)

“It’s a big help for us, especially to me being a worker in a barangay who has a lot of chances to talk and to listen to PDLs in our Barangay. It’s also a first step for giving PDLs a solution to the new life they want to have.” – Brgy. Hulong Duhat

“Ugnayan Laya is a good program for the ex-PDLs wherein to give them a 2nd chance to reintegrate to the community with the help of Barangays and other sectors.” – Malabon CJFD

The successful reintegration of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) into society is a crucial step in promoting rehabilitation, reducing recidivism rates, and creating safer communities. Achieving this goal requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond traditional correctional methods. By assembling a multidisciplinary team, consisting of professionals from various fields, we can harness the collective expertise and resources necessary to fasten the process of reintegrating PDLs. In this article, we explore the importance of a multidisciplinary team and how their collaborative efforts contribute to successful reintegration.

To begin, a multidisciplinary team brings together professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as psychologists, social workers, vocational trainers, healthcare providers, and legal experts. This diverse skill set enables a holistic assessment of PDLs’ needs, strengths, and challenges. Each team member contributes their unique perspective, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of the individual’s circumstances. This holistic assessment helps in developing personalized reintegration plans that address specific needs, such as mental health support, vocational training, addiction treatment, and legal assistance.

Second, by combining the expertise of different professionals, a multidisciplinary team can offer a wide range of services within a single framework. This approach eliminates the need for PDLs to navigate multiple systems independently, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and saving valuable time. Services may include educational programs, vocational training, substance abuse counseling, mental health support, legal aid, and employment assistance. The collaborative efforts of the team ensure a seamless delivery of these services, promoting continuity and minimizing gaps in care.

Furthermore, the multidisciplinary team fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing among professionals. Regular meetings, case conferences, and shared documentation allow for a comprehensive understanding of each PDL’s progress and challenges. Through these interactions, professionals gain insights from different perspectives, expanding their own expertise and refining their approaches to reintegration. This collaborative environment ensures that PDLs receive the best possible support, as professionals learn from each other’s experiences and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Reintegrating PDLs into society involves managing potential risks and addressing underlying factors that contribute to criminal behavior. In addition to what was stated above, a multidisciplinary team excels in developing targeted intervention strategies based on the individual’s risk factors, needs, and strengths. By collaborating on risk assessments, professionals can identify potential triggers and tailor interventions accordingly. This proactive approach aims to mitigate risks, enhance protective factors, and promote positive behavioral change, reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

And last but not least, a multidisciplinary team engages with the broader community to facilitate the successful reintegration of PDLs. By collaborating with community organizations, employers, educational institutions, and housing providers, the team helps create a supportive environment for PDLs’ transition back into society. Community involvement reduces stigma, fosters empathy, and creates opportunities for PDLs to access resources and build social connections. This community engagement is vital for creating a sense of belonging, reducing isolation, and increasing the chances of successful reintegration.

The reintegration of persons deprived of liberty requires a multifaceted approach that acknowledges their diverse needs and challenges. A multidisciplinary team brings together professionals from various fields to provide holistic support, targeted interventions, and comprehensive services. By collaborating, sharing knowledge, and engaging with the community, this team creates an environment that accelerates the reintegration process, reduces recidivism rates, and ultimately leads to safer and more inclusive societies. The power of collaboration cannot be understated, as the collective efforts of a multidisciplinary team provide the foundation for successful reintegration and the opportunity for PDLs to rebuild their lives.

By Jiro Pepito

References:

Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2011). Correctional Rehabilitation. In The Oxford Handbook of Sentencing and Corrections (pp. 203-226). Oxford University Press.

Bloom, B. (1994). The Path to Prison: Understanding and Treating Antisocial Individuals. Sage Publications.

Sullivan, E., & Tift, L. (2001). Helping Women Recover: Creating Gender-Responsive Treatment. Hazelden Publishing.

Travis, J., & Visher, C. (Eds.). (2013). Prisoner Reentry and Crime in America. Cambridge University Press.

Taxman, F. S., & Marlowe, D. (Eds.). (2006). Risk, Needs, Responsivity: Managing Offenders with Special Challenges. National Institute of Justice.

National Institute of Corrections. (2017). Multidisciplinary Team Collaboration: Enhancing Coordination and Collaboration Among Professionals Working with High-Risk Offenders. Retrieved from https://info.nicic.gov/multidisciplinaryteamcollaboration

Lee, M., Porter, L. E., & Williams, S. K. (2015). Reentry and the Ties that Bind: An Examination of Social Ties, Employment, and Recidivism. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 42(3), 334-354.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). (2013). Legal environments, human rights, and HIV responses among men who have sex with men and transgender people in Asia and the Pacific: An agenda for action. Retrieved from https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/2013_grund_rechte_asien_pazifik_en_0.pdf

Out of the bars, straight to the net: Former PDLs Digital Reintegration

The effects of incarceration on people include the loss of parental rights, a reduction in family income, disruption of family stability, and a detrimental effect on the mental health and well-being of the family.

The use of video and electronic communications on digital communication platforms benefits PDLs and their families. Communication with family members improves PDLs’ chances of finding work and receiving various treatment services following their release by helping them maintain relationships and family ties.

The Philippines has a unique hearsay culture in the community, especially when talking about other people’s lives.

Aey, a former PDL and FRED (Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees) beneficiary told she was uncomfortable during her release because of the communities’ attitude toward her Ang iniisip ko ay iniisip nila na may pagka-ex PDL ganyan, parang hindi ko maiwasan na baka may discrimination sa family or sa kapit-bahay ganyan. Di mo maiwasan maisip mo yun eh”.

Lulu, another FRED beneficiary shared the same kasi syempre meron po stigma paglabas dahil galing ka nga dun which is sa akin po nilabanan ko po kasi para sa akin po, kung ano po, ipapakita ko po sa kanila, iba yung nakita nila noon, malaki pagkakaiba nakita nila noon sa ngayon. We cannot please everybody naman po diba. Laban po talaga and manalangin ka na tulungan ka ng Diyos para makapagbagong buhay. Sa actions po naman makikita yun eh kung may may nagbago sayo or wala. Mahirap kasi syempre hindi sila nagsasalita pero alam mo sa sarili mo na may ganun thinking sila, which para sa akin bahala kayo kung ano gusto niyo isipin. Basta ako gagawin ko ang tama sa ngayon hanggang sa kasulukuyan po”.

One of the many difficulties that PDLs face upon release is searching for job opportunities. Compounding this challenge is the growing necessity for digital literacy which has become increasingly important in today’s job market.

Given all these, it is critical to study the role of the Internet on PDL reintegration in terms of job opportunities. Internet access could help PDLs in terms of job searching and skill development, including if these contribute to higher chances of successful reintegration into society. 

Lulu told “Tindera po ako. Nagtitinda po ako siomai, siopao, french fries, hotdog, yan po. Ngayon po di po kasi ako nagtinda kasi may activity po. Women’s Month po ngayon ma’am, may gagawin po kaming activity mamaya sa barangay, yun po di po ako nagtinda ngayong araw na ‘to. Saka po nagchat po sakin si Sir Wendell na may interview. Mamaya pang 4pm meron po kaming activity sa barangay kaya ngayong araw di ako nagtinda, pero tindera po ako. Dati pa po yung mga tinuruan po, gumagawa din po ng empanada, yung turo samin dati, paminsan-minsan. Tas yung mga palaman gumagawa din po ako, sardinas, ganyan po. Lahat po yun ma’am ginagawa ko rin para kahit papano onting kita malaking bagay ‘yon sa amin ma’am, pambigas, pang-ulam”.

Aey said ” Sa ngayon po dahil nag face-to-face na yung mga estudyante, nagpirme nalang po ako sa bahay dun sa online food business saka sa sari-sari store. Pero before po mga January, kakaresign ko lang sa call center, bumalik po kasi ako sa call center mga 3 months after kong lumaya. Tapos dahil po face-to-face na, kailangan tutukan na yung anak ko, nagdecide po ako na manatili nalang sa bahay, magfocus nalang dun sa tindahan”.