Hope to Action: Offering Second Chances through a Second Chance Program

Being locked up in jail is a real challenge as it deprives one’s liberty. Yet, being able to go back to the community does not assure an easier life, as stigma, discrimination and lack of opportunities are hard slaps of reality from communities.   

Rehabilitating persons restored of liberty is a crucial role in promoting an inclusive and safe society. Moreover, through related initiatives, creating positive hope and building the right path can bring light to these vulnerable people. Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation (HLAF) advocates and supports the PDLs’ second chance at living a better life outside the jail through facilitating different programs especially programs that offer improvement and growth of the former PDLs’ quality of life.   

The Focused Reintegration of Ex-Detainees (FRED) Program, specifically the ‘Second Chance’ under the Reintegration Program was crafted to provide assistance and support to the PDLs’ access to employment opportunities, skills and livelihood training, and education. This will serve as a step toward equipping themselves with the life skills needed to be qualified in the community’s standards once again.   

With this, HLAF facilitated the Task Force Katarungan at Kalayaan with different stakeholders and duty bearers at Malabon City Regional Trial Court to establish a collaborative discussion that will foster the program’s continuous progress. With the help of different comments and suggestions from the representatives of Malabon City Judge, Executive Judge, Parole and Probation Officer, Prosecutor Officer, Malabon City Jail Female and Male Dormitory, CSWDO, Public Attorney’s Office, and Brgy. Niugan Official, the Second Chance program was able to come up with plans regarding additional training, assessment tools, and other necessary internal efforts that are needed to affirm the improvements of the program.   

While the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s role is to supervise and protect the safety and welfare of the inmates, it is beyond their responsibilities to ensure the PDL’s life after imprisonment. Thus, this is one of where HLAF focused and worked. By facilitating the TFKK, different agencies, government offices, and duty bearers adopt and support the program which widens the opportunity to help the PRLs. Moreover, it also served as the basis of different activities, projects, and orders that enable the PRLs’ rights to be addressed.   

To further expound, one of the results of the FRED program is the Executive Order that is now on its third reading at Malabon City, the first city in the National Capital Region to implement an ordinance concerning the welfare of the PRLs through capacitating livelihood and skill-based training. The said EO would be the first ordinance at the NCR that institutionalized the reintegration program of HLAF.   

Beyond giving hope is providing action-based programs that embody real aspirations toward developmental changes. The ‘Second Chance program’ offered to the people who are victims of life’s circumstances brightens forth the real essence of a second chance that knows no cases. 

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