"I am satisfied with the progress of the construction activities on the new prison in Samoranovo and I am pleased with the high assessment of our Norwegian partners on the activities affecting the Norwegian Financial Mechanism." This was stated by Minister Krum Zarkov during a visit to the new prison construction site in the village of Samoranovo, near Dupnitsa.
Present were the Minister, Deputy Minister Maria Pavlova, the Chief Director of the General Directorate Execution of Sentences (GDES), Commissioner Ivaylo Yordanov and representatives of the Council of Europe, the Norwegian Correctional Service, the Norwegian Judicial Administration, the Office of the Financial Mechanism and the National Coordination Unit of the Council of Ministers.
The guests of the Ministry of Justice, who were here to participate in a meeting of the Cooperation Committee under the Justice Programme of the 2014-2021 Norwegian Financial Mechanism, had the opportunity to see real progress on the construction of the prison and the training centre.
The symbolic first sod was turned at the end of December this year and intensive construction activities have not stopped since then. The foundations of the prison are currently being made, and expected to be completed by the end of April 2024. In the meantime, many old buildings have been demolished to make way for the new modern facilities.
The penitentiary complex is funded by the Kingdom of Norway under the "Increasing staff capacity, building a pilot prison connected to a training centre and improving the rehabilitation of prisoners" project of the Justice Programme.
The first phase of the implementation envisages the construction of a pilot prison with a capacity of up to 400 prisoners and a training centre in which the employees of the Execution of Sentences Main Directorate will be trained according to specially developed programmes created by international experts.
In Samoranovo, the construction activities on the new detention centre for 400 detainees and on the renovation of the prison dormitory at the prison in Bobov dol are going on in parallel. It will have a separate transitional ward (half way house) for the adaptation of prisoners who are about to be released from prison.
The guests' programme continued with a visit to Petrich, where a modern detention centre and a new probation office are being built. The facility, which is also financed by the NFM, is part of the "Ensuring a secure and safe material environment in prisons and detention centres" project.