Prisons in Belene and Pleven with a cooperation agreement with Ona prison in Norway

21-02-2024 13:38

The conceptual project for the creation of two pilot ‘green prisons’ in Bulgaria is now at the final stage. The heads of the three prisons signed the twinning agreement between the Bulgarian penitentiaries in Belene and Pleven and the Norwegian prison in Ona. The ceremony took place in the Kingdom of Norway, near the town of. Stavanger, where the prison is located, from which Bulgaria will draw direct experience.

The focus of future action is on both infrastructure measures and training activities for prisoners and staff, oriented towards the acquisition of knowledge and skills in the field of ‘green’ economy. The Norwegian Correctional Service has already integrated these concepts into its prisons in the areas of agriculture, organic farming, healthy products, the use of self-sustaining energy resources and the creation of a healthy prison environment. According to the Norwegian partners, the greening of prisons provides an opportunity to create more efficient penitentiary facilities where reducing energy consumption and engaging inmates in employment, education and training to prepare them for work in the emerging green economy reduces the cost of financial and human resources.

On the Bulgarian side, the agreement was signed by Chief Commissioner Stefan Stefanov — Head of Pleven Prison and Chief Commissioner Pavlin Kamburov — Head of Belene Prison, on the Norwegian side — by Leif Magne Viste — Director of Ona Prison. The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Justice Georgi Nikolov, the Director General of the Directorate General for the Execution of Penalties (DGEP), Chief Commissioner Ivaylo Yordanov, experts from the DGEP and the Norwegian Correctional Service.

This initiative is made possible by the DGEP, which is a partner under a grant agreement from the Bilateral Relations Fund of the Justice Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014 — 2021 for ‘Development of a conceptual project to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the Norwegian Correctional Service and the Directorate General for the Execution of Penalties through the establishment of two pilot green prisons’.

The visit to Norway continues with bilateral meetings to discuss current and future joint activities, as well as visits to other prisons.