Deputy Minister of Justice Maria Pavlova inspected the prison facility ‘Debelt’ at the prison in Burgas. For several months, a completely new campus has been functioning there, which houses 63 low-security prisoners. It was built with funds provided by the budget of the Ministry of Justice, and currently the prisoners in the entire facility are 440 in total, including 294 high-security prisoners.
The facility in Debelt was opened in 2017. With funds from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, a state-of-the-art penitentiary facility that complies with all European standards for the treatment of prisoners was built on the site of a former police station and fire station. It was also the first new prison facility with increased security requirements to be built for many years. ‘With the opening of the new prison facility in Samoranovo, which will include a training centre, a pilot prison and a detention centre, the efforts to introduce the new requirements, both for security and safety and for the humane treatment of offenders, will be upgraded,’ Maria Pavlova said.
The Deputy Minister in charge of justice also inspected the working conditions of the supervisory and security staff and the conditions under which prisoners serve their sentences in the Zitarovo prison facility.
The head of the prison in Burgas, Chief Officer Yancho Zhelev, informed that a number of activities related to communication and social skills, changing attitudes and ways of thinking, building work habits and learning a profession are carried out to ensure the legal and social status of the persons. NGOs are involved in working with prisoners.
Maria Pavlova is also going to inspect the activities on the construction of the first transitional ward in the country — the so-called half way house, which is being built in the prison facility named ‘Builder’. The funds for it were also provided by the Kingdom of Norway under the project ‘Ensuring a safe and secure material environment in prisons and detention facilities’. The main objective of introducing this new model for the Bulgarian system is the adaptation and integration of prisoners into society after release.