Programme agreement signed for the Justice programme in Czech Republic

The programme agreement for CZ Justice was signed on 7 February 2019.

CZ Justice programme agreement signed

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: The Ministry of Financev of the Czech Republic
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: The Norwegian Direcrorate of Correctional Service
  3. International partner organisation: The Council of Europe
  4. Other programme partners: The Ministry of Justice in the Czech Republic
  5. The programme’s objective is: Improved Correctional system
  6. The programme funding amounts to € 6 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the Norway Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The Czech Republic has one of the highest prison population rates in Europe. This poses challenges, such as overcrowding in prisons and pressure on human and financial resources. There is a need to address overcrowding, to improve capacity in the prison system and to stimulate reintegration of former prisoners. 

The stakeholder consultation for this programme indicated a need to improve the cooperation between the criminal justice and the social system in the Czech Republic. A greater connection between the penitentiary and the post-penitentiary systems is expected to contribute to a more optimal correctional service. The provided support aims to contribute to greater capacity development, improved mutual cooperation and networking and activities aimed at improved correctional services.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The activities in the programme have been developed in line with the relevant national strategies and policies as well as from input received through consultations with relevant stakeholders. The programme will support systemic measures in areas of penitentiary and post-penitentiary care, new support programmes will reduce substance abuse and enhance motivation for change. Reintegration will be supported as well as capacity building of staff in prisons. Furthermore, the creation of a common system of education for inter-departmental training will lead to enhanced cooperation in the criminal justice and the social system. Establishing programme centres and probation houses as alternatives to prison in the Czech Republic is a priority. Therefore, two probation houses which seek to accommodate people on conditional release will be renovated, established and operated as part of the programme, aiming to benefit over 40 people on conditional release.

Service to offenders will also be carried out by NGOs, who will work with all available methods to ensure greater availability and standardization of programmes. As part of this scheme, several mentors for post-penitentiary care will be trained among NGO staff, which will help support over 200 prisoners. An awareness raising campaign including more than 10000 leaflets will be distributed to representatives of the judiciary and wider public. Around 80 judiciary staff will be trained in the application of alternative sentences. The programme further seeks to significantly improve prisoners’ welfare by offering a range of new services in Czech prisons such as treatment of drug addiction, psychosocial treatment, as well as mentoring and motivation programmes.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The Justice programme in the Czech Republic contributes to strengthening bilateral relations between the Czech Republic and Norway. At project level the Norwegian Correctional Service (NCA) will support projects by sharing standards, methodologies and guidelines from Norwegian experiences and practices in the area of a common educational system for training related to prison and post-prison care. The collaboration is expected to contribute to mutually beneficial knowledge sharing and activities, and long-lasting cooperation between involved partners.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls:

  • Call 1a “Support of reintegration of persons conditionally released and released from prison” 4th quarter 2019
  • Call 1b “Professional care for imprisoned drug users and its continuity after release” – 4th quarter 2019

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the website of the Norway Grants in the Czech Republic and the website of the Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service