Working meetings was held with Norwegian partners on the project “Enhancing the capacity of prison staff, building a pilot prison facility, connected to a training center and improving the rehabilitation of prisoners”.
The PDP 2 team held working meetings with the Norwegian partners of the NFM project “Enhancing the capacity of prison staff, building a pilot prison facility, connected to a training center and improving the rehabilitation of prisoners”. The meetings were organized at the General Directorate Execution of Penalties Training Centre in Pleven between 29 March and 1 April 2022.
During the event on activity 3.1 “Assessment and analysis of the needs of prisoners, especially vulnerable groups, including a review of the implemented rehabilitation programs” the design of the study was presented by the external experts Dr. Valentina Karaganova and Mrs. Veneta Radenkova. The study focuses on the basic needs of prisoners for their successful integration into the community, living in freedom and leading a lawful life. The final version of the analysis is expected to be ready by the end of May 2022. Norwegian experts from the Norwegian Correctional Service Academy, Åna Prison, the half-way house Sulholmen and Agder Probation Service have expressed interest in the study, as well as willingness to assist and support in future work from the project. This included the development of specialised programmes for prisoners, training of GDEP staff in their implementation and the establishment of a framework for inter-agency collaboration.
The second working meeting took place under activity 5.1 “Analysis of the risk assessment tool for prisoners currently in use and recommendations for improvements”. It was attended by representatives of the Norwegian partners, the national expert for the activity Prof. Neli Petrova and a group of expert prison officers.
In the form of a presentation Prof Petrova presented the analysis of the risk tool of prisoners (OASys), which is currently used, and the recommendations made.
The study conducted on the advantages and disadvantages of the OASys tool in structural terms and its application for the assessment of inmates, is the first large-scale and meaningful research among professionals in the Bulgarian prison system since its implementation in 2002. The results obtained from the quantitative measurement in terms of the scope of the assessment and its relevance, usefulness and process are correlated with data from the qualitative desk research and semi-structured interview. The analysis made it possible to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the instrument in structural terms relevant for its implementation in detention facilities.
Within the framework of the activity, efforts are made to attract international experts who, on the basis of the analysis, will propose a modern version of the toolkit, which will subsequently be adapted to the needs of the Bulgarian penitentiary system. It is envisaged to digitalize it and to train the staff to use it.