November 9, 2021

Within the EU financed project “Improving Capacities of the Prison Administration in the Area of Alternative Sanctions, Post-penal care and Healthcare in Serbia”, whose beneficiary is the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions, on 13 and 14 October 2021 training of trainers was completed for treatment officers who will further train other treatment officers for pre-release preparation.

Seven employees of the treatment service from the District (county) prison and penal correctional facilities in Niš, Poarevac, Pančevo and Sremska Mitrovica participated in this training session, with the purpose of enabling further preparation for the continuous specialisation of other treatment officers in their respective prisons in terms of the Pre-Release Programme. The workshops and presentations were designed to improve the skills and methodology of knowledge transfer on post-penal care and the pre-release programme.  Furthermore, the concept of determining the needs of inmates and the effect a proper pre-lease programme can have on their reintegration upon release was discussed in detail, as was the convicted persons needs vis-à-vis local communities.

For most former inmates the period immediately after release presents various obstacles that can, in the absence of proper support, make their reintegration difficult, even impossible. To provide adequate post-penal support and care, it is important to properly assess individual needs of each convicted person in terms of accommodation, professional qualifications, employment, support for addicts and health care for those with chronical physical diseases and mental illnesses.  Timely and proper support during the time spent in correctional facilities, as well as upon release is a key factor for the successful rehabilitation of convicts, which should lead to a reduced rate of recidivism and, ultimately, a reduced level of crime in the community.    

As one of many activities implemented under the project, the training of trainers initiative was divided into two sections: the first part was dedicated to gaining basic skills for trainers in general and was also directed towards representatives of the NGO sector, commissioners and employees in the Special Prison Hospital, while the second part should provide specialised skills for each of these groups.

The 1.4 million euro EU financed project has been operational since September 2019, and ends in May 2022.   It is part of the European Union’s pre- accession instrument to support countries to approximate to EU standards.