With the aim of promoting social reintegration and lowering recidivism, President Luis Lacalle Pou threw the Opportunity Network, an initiative through which the government of Uruguay will subsidize the companies of Uruguay that hire ex-inmates for amounts involving between 60% and 80% of salary.
Together to the Ministers of Social Development, Martín Lema, and of Labor, Pablo Mieres, presented the program within the framework of the event “Synergies to build a better society”, which promotes the labor insertion of released people. In the facilities of the World Trade Center Free Zone, challenged company owners by asking: “Who didn’t need a second opportunity?”.
By focusing on the function of prisons, President Lacalle Pou recalled that “that inmate who is in Tacuarembó, in Comcar, in Campanero, wherever, just as he entered he will leave”, after which he insisted: ” They will come out with one hand behind and one in front. Some will think, hopefully the vast majority, in second chances. In this context, he stressed that if the person has a job, “He will be free to choose between doing good or bad, because he will have the tools to choose.”
And he considered that “no matter how many stimuli there are, if everyone in their company does not make that decision, we are fried.” Calling everyone to be part of this change, he recognized that “first you have to walk, then jog and run to make it massive,” referring to the need to move forward with implementation.
Finally, he recalled the importance of programs such as Family Allowances and Accesses and referred to the January 2022 measure that eliminates the income cap to receive the benefit, which today reaches more than 20,000 homes. “That is combining assistance with development”, stated Lacalle Pou.
How much will the government subsidy be for businessmen who hire ex-inmates?
When taking the floor, Wednesday He pointed out that, within the framework of the law for the promotion of employment for vulnerable people, in force for a year and a half, there are different initiatives to support the hiring of individuals from these sectors. Among them, he highlighted the program that allows a subsidy greater than the common ones: 60% of salary for men and 80% for women for one year, as long as those hired are people who have graduated from the penitentiary system. “The instrument is there,” he insisted before the businessmen.
For the minister, an integrated society requires appropriate processes, above all, to avoid condemning this population to recidivism, which in Uruguay is 70%. Along these lines, he indicated: “This is key to fostering solidarity, public safety and, especially, for them to access opportunities.”
Change prejudices for opportunities
In his turn, Lema recalled that in 2022 the National Directorate of Support for the Released (Dinali) passed from the orbit of the Ministry of the Interior to that of Mides and highlighted the work and experience of his portfolio team. Arguing in favor of the initiative, he highlighted: “It seeks to change prejudices for opportunities, which cannot be achieved without help. For this reason, the Opportunities Network will be started, ”he explained.
In this sense, he celebrated the high call and reported that it will be disseminated and extended to different networks. “The idea is to add actors to synchronize efforts and thus generate more opportunities,” said Lema.
Finally, he reviewed data from the second semester of 2022, when 107 people who regained their freedom attended courses at the National Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (Inefop) and only one reoffended. “We are convinced that it can be done, based on evidence-based optimism,” he stated.