Apac

State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.

A person finds oneself in a living encounter. [...] The “I” is awakened from its captivity in its original vulva, it awakens from its grave, from its tomb, from its closed source and – as to say - "arise", it becomes aware of itself, in an encounter. [...] It is as if the person was born: not born there, but in the encounter it becomes aware of itself, therefore, it’s born as a personality.

Don Giussani, “I” is Born from an Encounter.

“As a Christian judge I believe that all men can be recovered. These are the words of a Brazilian judge who works with APAC (Associations for the Protection and Assistance to Prisoners). When prisoners enter these facilities, they are called “the recovered ones”.

The APAC are alternative facilities compared to traditional state prisons. They are run by civilians and volunteers without the aid of the Penitentiary Police. The project was established in 1983, when it was entrusted to the Association. The Association had operated for years inside the state prisons under the guidance of Mario Ottoboni. He was given the task of administering an autonomous garrison, without police surveillance. Thanks to Ottoboni’s initiative, today APAC are present in 56 Brazilian states.

The facilities are independent and self-sufficient. The “inmate” agrees to a recovery program based on a method developed by the Ottoboni. Over time, this method has shown its efficiency to reduce the rate of criminal recurrence as low as 10%, compared to 80% in “normal” Brazilian prisons.

Each APAC has its representative, whose main responsibility is to maintain discipline and harmony amongst the “the recovered ones”. This includes personal hygiene and cleanliness of each prison cell. Each cell is considered a core-family, where prisoners have the possibility to commence a real recovery program. For the first time, they are viewed differently. In a new way, more human… as a person.