The prison and the Institute for Security Detention in Opava in the Czech Republic is intended for convicted women of all offense categories.There is a problem of ensuring appropriate space for employment and performance of work and educational activities for those women. To provide space in the prison for these activities an unused boiler room will be changed into educational and vocational space. The objective is to increase the prison's capacity to offer rehabilitation measures for convicted women to increase the effectiveness of their preparation prior to release, in accordance with European and international human rights standards. This shall lead to a better chance of the women finding work after their release, which will in turn lower the risk of re-offending and thereby contribute to solving problems with an increasing number of prisoners and prison overcrowding. Type of work activities will depend on the offer of the selected employee. Educational activities will comprise strengthening of skills to lead a lawful life, gain financial and IT literacy or improve orientation on the job market. Bilateral activities with DNCS and another two Czech prisons (Ruzyně and Světlá nad Sázavou) will comprise two study visist focused on exchange of experience in treating female prisoners.
Summary of project results
The objective of the project was to increase the capacity for treatment of imprisoned women in prison and the Institute for Security Detention in Opava, to increase the effectiveness of their preparation before the release, which contributes to solving the problem of overcrowding of Czech prisons and reducing recidivism. The project implementation time was extended by one year due to a delay in the public procurement. All the initially planned key project activities have been fulfilled, and the savings generated by the lower cost of construction works have been used for additional activities including bilateral cooperation, PC course and fitting of educational spaces with audio-visual technology. The planned project results were fulfilled. The former coal-fired boiler house has been refurbished and facilities have been created for the education and employment of imprisoned women. The premises were equipped with the necessary furniture and equipment including IT technology. Sufficient space for work and employment of imprisoned women was created that will contribute to increased employment of sentenced women, especially those who cannot work in external companies for security reasons. The project involved training in labor law, financial literacy and practical skills, 63 inmates were trained and obtained a certificate. The PC course was attended by a total of 24 inmates who received a certificate of completion. 25 convicted women worked in the premises of the reconstructed building, dealing with the sewing of large-capacity bags in cooperation with an external employer. The planned project objective was fulfilled; the results of the project have contributed and will contribute to a better and more effective preparation of women before their release. Good preparation before release is reflected in their better chance to succeed in the labor market and integrate into civil life. It is expected that these measures will result in a reduction in recidivism. Each year, a minimum of 109 women will participate in new educational, training and work activities.
Summary of bilateral results
According to original project plan, no partnership with the donor partner was envisaged. However, but due to considerable savings in the execution of the construction works and in view of the positive experience with the partnership with DNCS in other project of the Prison Service, a cooperation focused on the issues of women imprisonment was established. The aim of this bilateral cooperation was to share the working experience of female prison staff on the Czech side with female prison staff on the Norwegian side. Two study visits took place within the framework of bilateral co-operation - one in Norway (15 participants from the CR) and one in the CR (8 participants from Norway). In Norway, Bredveit and Ravneberget women prisons were visited, in the CR, Opava, Světlá nad Sázavou and Prague Ruzyně Prison were visited. This form of bilateral co-operation has enabled effective sharing of good practice and valuable exchange of experience of the employees of both partners. The exchange of experience covered in particular the following areas: familiarization with the system, education of imprisoned women, provision of contact with the outside world, follow-up to the end of punishment, preparation for release, reintegration issues, cooperation with external organizations, social curators and probation service, requirements for staffing, the specifics of the prison system of both countries. Lessons learned and good practices will be used by participating staff in their daily routine activities and will be further disseminated to their colleagues. Due to the interest in participating in bilateral activities and their positive effect, further cooperation is foreseen in the upcoming programming period, with details of this cooperation being at the stage of discussion.