How to reintegrate prisoners more successfully and what support they need, experts discussed in a workshop

17-04-2024 15:07

The Deputy Minister of Justice Georgi Nikolov, the Director General of the General Directorate for Execution of Punishments (GDEP) Chief Commissioner Ivaylo Yordanov and experts took part today in a meeting where specialised programmes were presented as part of the new conceptual framework for the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society.

The information campaign with stakeholders is implemented within the project "Increasing the capacity of staff, building a pilot prison linked to a training centre and improving the rehabilitation of prisoners" under the Justice Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014 -2021. GDEP's invitation was responded to by representatives of the Employment Agency, the State Agency for Child Protection, the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Institute of Social Activities and Practices, the Center for the Study of Democracy, the Center for Humane Policies, experts in restorative justice, and heads of employer organizations that employ prisoners. 

The new penitentiary complex in Samoranovo, and in particular the centre for social inclusion services that has been built there, were presented to the participants in the meeting. Stakeholders and civil society – social and health services, labour organisations and NGOs – will have the opportunity to be involved in the activities of the centre. The aim is to motivate prisoners to participate in activities aimed at their integration into society, education and employment. The centre will also provide an opportunity for targeted work with the families of convicted persons, seeking their support. The meeting also focused on the advantages of the new programmes for reintegration and improvement of social competences, which target vulnerable groups, including young offenders and Roma. 

The heads of the State Enterprise "Prison Fund" and of the prison dormitory "Kazichene" at the prison in Sofia took part in the discussion, and experiences were shared regarding working prisoners. 

Full support and willingness to assist in future joint initiatives with GDEP regarding the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners was expressed by the representatives of the stakeholders at the end of the meeting.