Established in 1947, its main aim is to promote the integral human development of all people especially the poorest and most excluded.
In the field of prisons, Caritas Spain considers deprivation of liberty’ another dimension of social exclusion in people in which the crime is totally related to the lack of opportunities in life, of access to basic rights like education, health and employment, as well as family situations in which poverty is inherited between generations.
The Spanish Caritas Confederation carries out actions both to accompany Persons Deprived of Liberty and persons whose sentences are not custodial, but alternatives as there are the Community Services with a clear commitment to look for alternative measures instead of imprisonment. Altogether, there are 44 Diocesan Caritas with projects within prison and/or alternative measures (Community Services).
A response from an inmate in the survey on self-determination that we carried out as a network, reflects very well the meaning of our accompaniment to people deprived of liberty: “You helped me to understand the difference between spending time in prison and taking advantage of time in prison. From an attitude of waiting until the end, I changed to an active attitude in improving my decision-making capacity over my life, the capacity for self-determination. Your presence inside the prison has always been a breath of fresh air. I also understood that, in life, there are people capable of doing something for someone in exchange for nothing, for free”.
Our projects inside prison pursue a comprehensive accompaniment to the person. In all of them, participation in the decision on the type of activity to carry out is essential. The contents of the workshops are diverse: from the improvement of social skills, sense of life, improvement of capacities for a future job, basic culture, counselling in criminal matters, among others, as well as possibilities of deepening in spiritual dimensions.
Many of the projects facilitate accommodation for the inmates during permits, third degree, probation and final freedom for those without residential resources. One of our main objectives is to facilitate the contacts with the family. We pay special attention to the situation of minor sons and daughters given the difficult situation they live in the midst of a “law of silence” that prevents them from proper emotional development.
Regarding the Community Services, they not only respond to a judicial proposal, but, fundamentally, they constitute a space for restitution of the damage caused to society through a relearning of the importance of solidarity and otherness as the foundations of coexistence and human development.