Panamá’s Safe Neighborhoods program fights gangs with enforcement and rehabilitation

first_img“We are attacking gang culture in two ways: first, by extending a helping hand to any youth that wants to join a rehabilitation and reintegration process,” Aguilera said. “We will support those youths with psychological tools, and provide vocational and basic training so that they can become rehabilitated and reenter society by obtaining decent employment. On the other hand, gang members who continue to be involved in illegal activities will be held responsible for all the crimes they commit, to the fullest extent of the law.” “When they join the program, the members are required to undergo psychosocial evaluation before beginning basic and vocational education, which will allow them subsequently to have a chance to gain employment,” Aguilera said. “The youths [in the program] must make a commitment to abandon their weapons and their life of crime. The government, in turn, has contacts within private companies and in the public sector who have proven willing to hire [former gang members] and to give them a chance in society.” “With the establishment of this task force, the President is sending a clear message to these gang members to abandon their activities,” Aguilera added. The response has been strong. As of mid-November, 2,000 former gang members have joined the program, according the Minister for Public Security Rodolfo Aguilera. Some of the former gang members who joined the initiative turned in 200 weapons. The Ministry of Public Security (Minseg) formed five commissions, comprised of public servants, civilians, evangelical pastors, and members of NGOs, to collect the weapons. “We are attacking gang culture in two ways: first, by extending a helping hand to any youth that wants to join a rehabilitation and reintegration process,” Aguilera said. “We will support those youths with psychological tools, and provide vocational and basic training so that they can become rehabilitated and reenter society by obtaining decent employment. On the other hand, gang members who continue to be involved in illegal activities will be held responsible for all the crimes they commit, to the fullest extent of the law.” Job training, sports, and cultural activities “When they join the program, the members are required to undergo psychosocial evaluation before beginning basic and vocational education, which will allow them subsequently to have a chance to gain employment,” Aguilera said. “The youths [in the program] must make a commitment to abandon their weapons and their life of crime. The government, in turn, has contacts within private companies and in the public sector who have proven willing to hire [former gang members] and to give them a chance in society.” Panamá President Juan Carlos Varela’s administration is taking aim at gangs with a two-pronged strategy that includes strong law enforcement efforts with rehabilitation initiatives and social integration opportunities for those who wish to reject a life of crime. Congratulations to our heroes. The police struggle against the gangs is important, but even more important is to overcome the social inequalities produced by these gangs.. The effort being made in several countries is praiseworthy. I hope something like this is done in Honduras. The Panamanian model is effective, Job training, sports, and cultural activities Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at the 192 gangs which have a total of 5,000 members operating in Panamá. These gang members are between the ages of 8 and 29 years old, according to the National Integrated Criminal Statistics System (SIEC). They engage in homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping, theft, and extortion, and many of these gangs fight each other for control of specific neighborhoods throughout the country. One of the groups working to help former gangsters rehabilitate themselves and find honest employment is the Jesús Luz de Oportunidades Foundation. For six years, the organization has provided rehabilitation and re-socialization services for gang members in Santa Ana, El Chorrillo, Curundú, San Felipe, and Avenida Ancón. To encourage gang members to leave behind these criminal activities, the Safe Neighborhoods program is providing social assistance to at-risk young people, such as $50 in food coupons per week, job training; and sports, cultural, and spiritual activities. The program is concentrated in regions with the highest levels of gang activity, such as the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí, Panamá Oeste (Arraiján and La Chorrera); and the districts of San Miguelito, Panamá Este and Centro. center_img Safe Neighborhoods is aimed at the 192 gangs which have a total of 5,000 members operating in Panamá. These gang members are between the ages of 8 and 29 years old, according to the National Integrated Criminal Statistics System (SIEC). They engage in homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping, theft, and extortion, and many of these gangs fight each other for control of specific neighborhoods throughout the country. One of the groups working to help former gangsters rehabilitate themselves and find honest employment is the Jesús Luz de Oportunidades Foundation. For six years, the organization has provided rehabilitation and re-socialization services for gang members in Santa Ana, El Chorrillo, Curundú, San Felipe, and Avenida Ancón. Regarding enforcement, the initiative brings together 15,000 members of the security forces, who collectively form the Anti-Gang Task Force. The task force coordinates the efforts of units of the National Police, the National Border Protection Service, the National Aeronautical Service, and the anti-gang division of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation of the National Police. Regarding enforcement, the initiative brings together 15,000 members of the security forces, who collectively form the Anti-Gang Task Force. The task force coordinates the efforts of units of the National Police, the National Border Protection Service, the National Aeronautical Service, and the anti-gang division of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation of the National Police. To encourage gang members to leave behind these criminal activities, the Safe Neighborhoods program is providing social assistance to at-risk young people, such as $50 in food coupons per week, job training; and sports, cultural, and spiritual activities. The program is concentrated in regions with the highest levels of gang activity, such as the provinces of Colón, Chiriquí, Panamá Oeste (Arraiján and La Chorrera); and the districts of San Miguelito, Panamá Este and Centro. The “Safe Neighborhoods with more Opportunities and a Firm Hand” program was launched on July 1, when Varela was sworn into office. The new president publicly announced a month-long amnesty period for gang members to voluntarily surrender their weapons. He encouraged gang members who wanted to change their lives to join the program. Safe Neighborhoods is also open to delinquents who are not affiliated with a gang. The “Safe Neighborhoods with more Opportunities and a Firm Hand” program was launched on July 1, when Varela was sworn into office. The new president publicly announced a month-long amnesty period for gang members to voluntarily surrender their weapons. He encouraged gang members who wanted to change their lives to join the program. Safe Neighborhoods is also open to delinquents who are not affiliated with a gang. Panamá President Juan Carlos Varela’s administration is taking aim at gangs with a two-pronged strategy that includes strong law enforcement efforts with rehabilitation initiatives and social integration opportunities for those who wish to reject a life of crime. By Dialogo November 25, 2014 “With the establishment of this task force, the President is sending a clear message to these gang members to abandon their activities,” Aguilera added. The response has been strong. As of mid-November, 2,000 former gang members have joined the program, according the Minister for Public Security Rodolfo Aguilera. Some of the former gang members who joined the initiative turned in 200 weapons. The Ministry of Public Security (Minseg) formed five commissions, comprised of public servants, civilians, evangelical pastors, and members of NGOs, to collect the weapons. last_img read more

Insurance rule leaves cancer patient in the lurch

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre “What this insurance carrier did was appalling,” Bates said Friday. Just before a scheduled surgery in 2004 to remove a tumor, the Gardena hairstylist said she was pulled out of the exam room and told that the procedure had been canceled because of a problem with her insurance. A representative with Health Net Inc. told her over the phone she would have to pay three months’ worth of premiums in advance to restore her policy, she said. The surgery went ahead, but she was canceled again in the midst of chemotherapy treatments, she said. She is now suing the company for $6 million. Documents made public in an arbitration hearing this week over her lawsuit gave an unprecedented look at the procedures of Health Net Inc., which saved more than $35 million in payments for medical expenses from 2000 to 2006 by canceling policies, court documents show. At Friday’s hearing, Barbara Fowler, an underwriter for the Woodland Hills-based insurance carrier, answered questions about her alleged role in canceling policies, including the one held by Bates. Court documents show Fowler earned $1,654 to $6,310 a year in bonuses from 2000 to 2006 for meeting goals set by the company to save money. Bates’ attorney, William Shernoff, described the health carrier’s actions as “cruel and reprehensible.” An associate at his Claremont law firm, Shernoff, Bidart & Darras, sent the court documents – including Bates’ health care application, Fowler’s bonus payments and other internal records – to the Daily Breeze after former Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Sam Cianchetti granted a motion Thursday that opened the proceedings to the public. In a letter to Bates just before her scheduled surgery in January 2004, Fowler wrote that Health Net was canceling her policy because information on her application was “factually incorrect” and “that certain important health information may have been omitted.” The company alleges she lied about her weight and a preexisting heart condition associated with her use of a diet drug. Bates disputes that, saying she answered the questions on the application as best she could. Most major health insurers review – and sometimes cancel – the policies of clients who submit large medical claims. However, it is against state law for an insurer to link the pay of claims reviewers to their decisions. Health Net spokesman Brad Kieffer could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. A spokesman for state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, meanwhile, told reporters that his office is watching the case closely and will look into the actions of Health Net and other insurance carriers. Bates’ trial is expected to continue next week, her lawyers said Friday. They are also representing another Health Net customer with a similar claim, said Michael Bidart, a partner in the law firm. Bates said she received chemotherapy treatments about four months after her insurance was canceled, thanks to a charity organization that picked up the $200,000 bill. She still needs follow-up medical care, including the removal of a port in her body that was used to inject the chemotherapy. A self-employed hairdresser who lives in Lakewood, Bates said she was left without health coverage. “I can’t afford it,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” [email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! When the solicitor called Patsy Bates at her Gardena hair salon about four years ago, the offer was enticing: She could save $50 a month in health insurance by switching from her current carrier to Health Net Inc. She answered a few questions and later filled out a form when a company representative came by her shop on Rosecrans Avenue to process the paperwork. A few months later, Bates was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the decision to change insurers sent her life into a tailspin and left her vulnerable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Bates, 51, is now at the center of a lawsuit alleging Health Net Inc., one of California’s largest health insurers, gave its employees financial bonuses for canceling policies that saved the company millions of dollars in medical costs. last_img read more