The main objective of the project is establishment of a methodology for creating post-penitentiary center to a prison in the town of Pleven, as an important stage of care, effective services and achieve continuity.

The working visit was held from 24.06. – 29.06.2016, includes meetings with local partner IODHR, meeting with a representative of the Norwegian Red Cross, meeting with HE Rumyana Mitreva – Ambassador of Bulgaria in Kingdom of Norway, learning about cultural understanding, tolerance and human rights.

Of the calls, especially with the representative of the Norwegian Red Cross, it became clear that the work on the re-socialization of prisoners is an ongoing process that begins in prison and continuing after release as long as necessary. There is a symbiosis between state structures and NGOs. Cooperation between them is very high, and equal partnership.

untitled-1The main role in post-penitentiary care released from prison courtesy of the Norwegian Red Cross. Norwegian society is permanently interested for the full incorporation of ex-prisoners in free life, given that this activity is entrusted to volunteers under the leadership of the Norwegian Red Cross.

The Norwegian Red Cross are entrusted and post-penitentiary centers operating in the country. The work is structured mainly in two directions – in prison and after release.

During their visits in prisons volunteers hold meetings with serving a sentence of „imprisonment“ of them explain the purpose of their visits, acquire direct personal impressions of the particular person familiar with its problems and plans free life. The purpose of these visits is to motivate inmates to engage in activities aimed at full integration into society, education, vocational training, employment, creative activities. Motivate and to continue meetings after the release in the post-penitentiary center. Purposefully works with the families of convicted persons to seek their involvement and support. Organize free meetings between relatives and convicted persons in the form of a picnic and most likely similar to those in the free life.

After the release operation in the post-penitentiary center is primarily aimed at engaging time of the released person with meaningful activities to be detached from the criminogenic environment. Run the following activities:

  • Mediation and mediation in finding work;
  • Inclusion in vocational courses;
  • Inclusion in specialized activities to reduce dependency on alcohol;
  • Inclusion in specialized activities to reduce dependence on drugs;
  • Daily organize sports-racing activities;
  • Organized cultural events;
  • To stimulate creative initiatives by club forms of work.

As a disadvantage may indicate that system of post-penitentiary care does not include persons with serious criminal offenses and mental instability. There is a choice of volunteers who of cases to work and who to reject.

Discrepancies societal and criminal situation in Bulgaria:untitled-2

  • Lack of public awareness and concern about the fate of persons released from prison;
  • Underdeveloped voluntary initiative;
  • Stagnation of the economy of the country and lack of jobs /in Norway there is a surplus of vacancies/;
  • Radically different in nature to the problems of exempt persons in Norway and Bulgaria. For Bulgaria largest percentage of released prisoners face serious problems in finding a job, lacking any funds, some of them have no home and relatives. In Norway, the problems are mainly related with addictions – drugs and alcohol
  • Different typecasting criminal attitudes. Over 60% of those convicted in Bulgaria are mercenary-mercantilist crimes, mainly in only two criminal composition – theft and robbery;
  • There is no continuity in the process of re-socialization. After his release from prison no relevant institutions and establishments operating and monitoring of the released person is a prerequisite for its recurrence in deviant behavior.

Conclusions:

  1. Norway work towards the inclusion of prisoners in social life through participation in training programs and vocational trainings/courses;
  2. A successful ways social inclusion of former prisoners is the participation of families in this process;
  3. With inmates working volunteers of the Norwegian Red Cross;
  4. The participation of civil society is essential for the resocialization of ex-prisoners;
  5. In Norway, society is ready to accept and reintegrate former prisoners after they get out of prison.
  6. The establishment of at least one post-penitentiary center as a model for subsequent care for persons who have served a sentence of imprisonment will enable institutions to accept the challenge of the convicts be given another chance and career after prison.
  7. For the construction of the first in Bulgaria post-penitentiary center and social enterprise is particularly important to be analyzed and used in Norwegian best practices. It is particularly important in the establishment and operation of same to engage local institutions – the courts, prosecution, police, probation service and social workers.

 

Partner: International Organization for Democracy and Human Rights – IODHR, Norway.

Project „New start after prison“ was financed by the Program BG15, Fund for bilateral relations of Norwegian financial mechanism 2009-2014.