“The safety of citizens often depends on what happens in places of detention. Bulgaria is a country with a high rate of recidivism, so both the work with prisoners and the conditions under which they serve their sentences are important so that when they get out they commit new crimes,” Zarkov said during his tour today.
It is part of the on-site inspections that the justice minister has been undertaking since the beginning of his mandate, with the aim of getting to know the conditions under which prisoners and accused persons serve their sentences, as well as the working conditions of the supervisory and security staff.
In Plovdiv, Minister Zarkov inspected the prison housing and the open-type prison hostel “Hebros”. It is there, under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (NFM), that the existing buildings on the territory of the hostel are expected to be reconstructed, thus creating modern conditions for the accommodation of convicts. It is planned to build sanitary facilities in the cells, bathrooms, kitchen and auxiliary facilities, sports grounds and a gym. In addition to the reconstruction of Hebros, the investment project includes the creation of a half way house and the improvement of conditions in the Plovdiv prison. Currently, the public procurement is at the stage of contractor selection, with the deadline for this being the end of September.
In Pazardzhik, Krum Zarkov visited the Training Centre, where 28 prisoners will be engaged in the educational process this school year. A year ago, with funds from the NFM, the production workshop in the prison yard was turned into a modern school with eight classrooms, a gymnasium, and a computer room. The centre also provides retraining opportunities for prison administration staff. Minister Zarkov also visited the recently renovated dormitories in the prison wing.
Under the same project, half way house are to be built in Plovdiv as well as in the prison hostels “Samoranovo” and “Stroitel” (respectively attached to the prisons in Bobov Dol and Burgas). The aim is to introduce a new social-integration concept for the preparation of prisoners to adapt them to society after their release. The other objects of this NFM project that are under implementation are a new detention and probation service in Petrich, a new detention in Samoranovo and a new prison hostel at Vratsa prison.
During the tours, Minister Zarkov was accompanied by the Deputy Minister Maria Pavlova, the Director General of GDIN Ivaylo Yordanov and Commissioner Nina Glavchovska - Head of the Regional Office “Execution of Punishments” - Sofia and Head of the predefined project of the NFM.