Correctional Services

A Norway Grants supported prison in Latvia


High standard prison systems not only ensure that human rights are respected – they also give prisoners a better opportunity to turn their lives around.

The Challenge

In 2016, over half a million people were in prisons across the EU. In order to strengthen their rehabilitation and facilitate their reintegration back into society, several challenges need to be met:

Overcrowded prisons

Many prisons in Europe suffer from overcrowding and poor conditions. Providing alternatives to traditional sentencing, such as monitoring, can alleviate the pressure on the correctional systems.

Getting former prisoners back into society for good

One of the main challenges is prisoners who revert to a life of crime after their release prison.  Special attention is needed for the reintegration of former prisoners into society. Initiatives such as providing inmates with education and relevant skills strengthens their ability to live a normal life.

Limited healthcare

Inmates often suffer from substandard healthcare even though they should receive the same quality of health services as the general public. This is problematic as imprisonment can have negative effects on their health, especially for those who struggle with mental health problems or drug addiction.

Our Approach

Our goal

We aim to improve correctional systems in Europe.


Strengthening the standards of correctional systems requires action on multiple levels. The Grants therefore support a variety of initiatives, such as:  

  • Reducing overcrowding by providing alternatives to prison, such as monitoring
  • Developing policies and national strategies and reviewing sentencing policies
  • Improving organisational structures and providing education and training for staff
  • Improving preparations for release and reintegration
  • Supporting vulnerable groups such as juvenile offenders, women, LGBT and drug addicts

Download the overview of our support to Correctional services to see the full list of suggested activities

Creating partnerships

Knowledge exchange and sharing of experiences is strongly encouraged between organisations and institutions in the beneficiary countries and their counterparts in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service is a donor programme partner in this area and can assist Norwegian organisations that wish to get involved.