First round table to promote treatment programmes for vulnerable categories of prisoners
On 22-23 October 2015 the first round table to promote implementation of Guidelines for developing treatment programmes and individual sentence plans for vulnerable categories of prisoners in BiH was held in Mostar. The Working Group comprising of local policy-makers and prison experts drafted guidelines fostering humane treatment of vulnerable prisoners while, at the same time, ensuring protection of their human rights and programme of activities tailored to their needs and risks they present to themselves and the community as a whole.
The round table closed with the adoption of two main conclusions: prison managers and Assistant Ministers of Justice responsible for execution of criminal sanctions endorse the Guidelines and commit to making them available to prison staff they refer to, by making them mandatory in daily operations of prisons and ensuring that these Guidelines are a part of the annual training programmes in prisons.
The Round table was organized in the framework of Joint Programme of the European Union and Council of Europe ‘’Harmonisation of BiH sanctions policies and practices with European standards’’.
Working Meeting on Prison Overcrowding in Kiev
Combating prison overcrowding and use of alternative sanctions and measures has been a challenging issue for the Eastern Partnership countries during last decade. In order to move effectively from punitive to rehabilitative execution of criminal sanctions, overcrowding of prisons must be addressed.
A 2-day working meeting, dedicated to discuss the draft model questionnaire for conducting a study on prison overcrowding in the Eastern Partnership countries, with participation of the representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine and a representative of the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia, as well as the staff of the CoE office in Kiev and the CoE international consultants took place in Kiev on 7-8 October 2015.
Presenting Training manual on advanced competencies of prison staff
A training programme developed on the basis of the Training manual on advanced competencies of prison staff was presented to a group of assistant prison governors on 5-6 October in Banja Luka as part of the 3rd cycle of training.
A total of 13 senior prison professionals from prisons in Orasje, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Busovaca, Istocno Sarajevo, Doboj and Bihac were introduced to the procedures on prisoners’ escort, efficient communication in prison environment, protection of personal data, crime scene investigation in prison environment, dynamic security, supervision of staff, working under pressure in prison environment, working with informers, working with vulnerable prisoners and prevention of transmissible diseases in prison environment.
Multilateral meeting "The social reintegration of offenders to reduce reoffending – Co-operation between prison and probation services"
Sarajevo, 29-30 September 2015 - The meeting was organised within the multilateral co-operation activities of the Council of Europe in the penitentiary field. The meeting brought together representatives of prison and probation services from ten countries, involved in the Council of Europe bilateral, multilateral and project activities and in the process of developing or adjusting their policies for enhancing the social reintegration of offenders. The participants have shared good practices and discussed ways of introducing new developments in their countries’ systems in the light of the relevant Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The meeting conveyed the message that whether or not probation agencies and the prison service form part of a single organisation, they should work in close co-operation in order to contribute to a successful transition from life in prison to life in the community. For more information about the meeting please refer to the
Presentation of the National Strategy for development of the penitentiary system in "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
How to reduce prison overcrowding and treat prisoners with dignity– these are amongst the main issues addressed by the National Strategy for Development of the Penitentiary System, presented to the press on 29 September 2015 at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Skopje.
Workshop on prison management in Ukraine
The workshop “Vision for Change” on general prison management issues and importance of rehabilitative approach was held in Kyiv on 25 September 2015 in the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Further Support for Penitentiary Reform in Ukraine”.
Specialised Training for members of the police internal control sector
A 3-day specialised training on human rights and police proceedings, discrimination, and hate speech for the staff of the Sector of Internal Control and Professional Standards (SICPS) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs was held from 21 to 23 September 2015 in Ohrid. The training was delivered by three international and one national expert for a total of 28 inspectors dealing with citizens’ complaints regarding human rights violations committed by police officers.
Works on probation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Meeting of the prison/probation teams with international consultants and the EU/CoE JP ‘’Harmonisation of BiH sanctions policies and practices with European standards’’ project team to evaluate outcomes of the pilot project on delivery of probation tasks in prison environment was held on
15-16 September in Mostar. The total of eight treatment officers and security supervisors from prisons in Banja Luka and Zenica discussed the three main activities implemented within the framework of the pilot (motivational interviews, group discussions and pre-release course) and how to take the pilot project further with the aim of spreading this good practices to other prisons in BiH at some later point. In addition, the prison probation teams discussed what, from their practical experience, would need to be featured in the draft law(s) on probation in BiH jurisdictions.
Activities on introducing probation service(s) in BiH continued over the next two days (17-18 September also in Mostar) with participation of the Working Group working under the auspices of the EU/CoE JP tasked with developing draft law(s) on probation under the guidance of the JP’s international consultant. The initial draft is structured to closely follow Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Probation Rules, with some of the key issues featured in the draft being the structure of the service(s), provisions on future personnel, status of the future service(s). More drafting session will follow before the end of the 2015 when the above issues will be discussed in more detail.
Prison staff learn basic project management to start their mini-projects in pilot prisons of Ukraine
A workshop on basic project management for senior prison staff was held in Kyiv on 15 September in the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe on “Further Support for Penitentiary Reform in Ukraine”. The activity was organised under Compoment 1 of the Project: Improved rehabilitative approach in the prison regimes in line with the European standards and best practices. Teams in 6 pilot prisons are presently planning their actions based on Council of Europe experts’ recommendations.
The workshop aimed to help senior prison staff in the preparation of pilots and improve their planning and management skills.
Press conference in Skopje for presentation of the public awareness campaign on human rights and police
On 10 September, a press conference and a presentation of the public awareness campaign on human rights and police called “The rights to be observed, the obligations to be respected” was organised in Skopje, with participation of H.E. Mr Aivo Orav, Head of Delegation of the European Union, Mr Mitko Chavkov, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Ms Tanja Rakusic-Hadzic, Head of Criminal Law Cooperation Unit, Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe.
The aim of the Public Campaign is to raise awareness regarding the developments in the police service concerning the observance of human rights.
Continued Support in Reviewing Mental Health Legislation in Georgia
On 24-25 July, mental health policy makers, implementers and monitors have participated in a workshop to discuss the deficiencies and gaps in the mental health legislation and practice and the ways to improve them.
(Link to the project)
Exploring Dutch Experience in Mental Health Management
Georgian mental health policy makers and implementers have visited the Kingdom of the Netherlands to explore Dutch practices in mental health management. The visit was organised in July in the framework of the Council of Europe CoE/EU joint programme “Human Rights in Prisons and Other Closed Institutions”.
Workshop on giving the right qualification to instances of ill-treatment
On 13 July, the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Prosecutor’s Office has organised a workshop on giving the right qualification to instances of ill-treatment at “Rooms Tbilisi” Hotel, in Tbilisi, Georgia.
(Link to project)
Presentation of the Training manual for Probation officers
The training manual for probation officers was presented and discussed among practitioners at a Round Table held in Yerevan on 06 July 2015. The training modules have been developed by a team of international and local consultants who participated at the round table.
Launch of the project "Further support to penitentiary reform in Ukraine"
A new project financed by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe, which aims to move the Ukrainian penitentiary system from a punitive to a rehabilitative approach, is being launched in Kyiv on 3 July at the Radisson Hotel in Yaroslaviv Val. The three-year project has a budget of 1 million euros and will set up pilot programmes in 6 selected prisons. This project is part of the Programmatic Cooperation Framework between the European Union and Council of Europe.
(Link to project)
Assessment mission on prison health-care situation in Armenian prisons
A 5-day assessment mission was conducted within the framework of PCF project “Strengthening Health Care and Human Rights Protection in Prisons in Armenia”. The mission was lead by two Council of Europe international experts and three local experts and took place in Yerevan and other locations in Armenia in the period 29 June until 3 July 2015.
Skopje 5 November 2015
On 5 November, the closing conference for the Project “Capacity Building of the Law Enforcement Agencies for Appropriate Treatment of Detained and Sentenced Persons”, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe, was organised in Skopje. This EU-funded project focused on two major components, notably on the penitentiary system and the police service. (Read more)
Public debate on the introduction of probation services in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Joint Programme of the European Union and Council of Europe ‘’Harmonisation of BiH sanctions policies and practices with European standards’’ organised the first public debate on the introduction of probation in BiH which was held in Mostar on 16 October 2015.
The aim of the probation, conditioned and supervised liberty of the offender, is to protect the society from the offender and to reduce the risk of recidivism through his/her re-socialisation and reintegration in the community.
The debate was attended by the key stakeholders tasked with imposing probation orders and supervision of their implementation in practice.
Strengthening the coordination between internal and external prison inspection bodies
Three 1-day round tables on strengthening the coordination between the internal and external prison inspection bodies were held from 7 to 9 October in Bitola, Shtip and Skopje ("The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia").
The aim of the round tables was to present the wider professional audience with the new prison inspection manual developed under the auspices of the project, to improve the coordination between the relevant inspection bodies and to strengthen the role of the judges for execution of sanctions.
Practical recommendations to strengthen rehabilitative approach in Ukraine
After the first visits to six pilot penitentiary establishments in Ukraine, experts of the Council of Europe have provided practical recommendations for the Ukrainian prison administration on possible ways to improve rehabilitative services for inmates.
Visit of the penitentiary institution N°16 in Georgia
On 30 September, Mr Kakha Kakhishvili, Minister of Corrections and Mr Cristian Urse, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia visited the newly opened penitentiary institution No 16 and distributed publications on Standard Medical Services in Prisons and its roadmap there.
Standard Medical Services in Prisons is a unified description of prison healthcare services to be provided for prisoners, approved by the Order of the Minister of Corrections on 24 April 2015.
(Link to the project website)
High level expert meeting on prison staff training in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The First high level expert meeting on prison staff training in BiH with participation from the local policy makers and prison professionals and an international consultant to develop a policy document enabling creation of a more permanent prison staff training structure under the auspices of the EU/CoE JP ‘’Harmonisation of BiH sanctions policies and practices with European standards’’ was held on 23-25 September in Banja Luka.
The meeting aimed to discuss which type of document endorsed by all three Ministries of Justice would be the most operational in providing the common ground for the eventual taking over of institutional knowledge in the area of prison staff training in BiH, once international support for this cause tones down. In addition, the Working Group developed the basic structure of the document which will encompass, among other, the following chapters: the purpose of continuing prison staff training, aims, principles behind efficient and skill-based training programmes for prison staff, modalities of organisation of training structure(s), implementation sequence and evaluation of outcomes.
Further two similar meetings will be held before the completion of the JP in June 2016.
New framework of internal prison inspection presented in Ukraine
The new framework of internal prison inspection was presented to the senior officials of the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine (SPSU) and pilot prisons heads and their deputies in Kyiv on 23 September 2015 in the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Further Support for Penitentiary Reform in Ukraine”.
Piloting 'Building on Competences for Prison Managers’ development programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 14-18 September 2015, the Council of Europe (CoE) piloted a personal development programme 'Building on Competences for Prison Managers’ with the participation of governors from six selected prisons (Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Foča, Mostar, Tuzla and Zenica) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Training on effective prison inspection in "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
A 5-day advanced training for future prison inspectors on effective prison inspection, including mechanisms for prevention of corruption and monitoring human rights compliance, was held from 14 to 18 September 2015 in Shtip. The training was delivered by two international and two national experts for a total of 8 participants from the Directorate for Execution of Sanctions, future prison inspectors.
Seminar on presenting amendments to the Latvian legislation on police short term detention centers
On 14–15 September a seminar on presenting amendments to the Latvian legislation regarding the police short term detention centers was organized in Riga.
The seminar presented the developments introduced to the system and draft amendments to the legal framework regarding police short term detention centers, developed by national experts in response to identified challenges as well as relevant shortcomings of detention in police establishments in Latvia.
Closing of the six month training programme for prison regime officers in Georgia
On 15 September 2015, Mr Kakha Kakhishvili, Minister of Corrections, Mr Cristian Urse, Head of the Council of Europe (CoE) Office in Georgia and Ms Maia Khasia, Director of the Penitentiary and Probation Training Centre (PPTC) have awarded certificates to 25 newly recruited prison regime officers- graduates of the long term training programme.
The training programme is the first of this kind of initiative in the Georgian penitentiary system and has the aim to improve the professionalism of the prison staff. It was developed with the help of a co-author of the “European Prison Rules” and ran for the second time in the framework of the EU/CoE joint project “Human Rights in Prisons and Other Closed Institutions”.
25 newly recruited prison regime staff attended theoretical and practical phases of the 6-month training at PPTC and in different prisons. The programme is also unique in a way that it involves mentors- experienced prison regime staff, who shared their knowledge and skills with their new colleagues. It is expected that the programme will form a crucial part of the basic training of prison staff in the future and will be embedded in the official curricula.
(Link to the project website)
Advanced Training of Trainers Session on Application of the General
Criminogenic Treatment Programme and the Screening Tool
A 3-day advanced Train-of-Trainers session on the application of the General Criminogenic Treatment Programme and the corresponding screening tool was held from 31 August to 2 September 2015 in Skopje. The training was delivered by two international experts for a total of 13 participants from the Directorate for Execution of Sanctions and the penitentiary institutions, (national trainers).