The actionStrengthening the capacities of the penitentiary system in North Macedonia’ is assisting the authorities in North Macedonia in enhancing the prison reform, as well as the protection of prisoners’ human rights. 

In line with Council of Europe’s standards and best practices, the action is contributing in the process of improving the protection of human rights of the persons deprived of liberty. The action is being implemented in co-operation with the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions (Ministry of Justice), and the Ministry of Health.

This action is part of the joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye running from 2023 until December 2026.

What is the goal(s) and objective(s) of the action?

  • Supporting beneficiaries in strengthening the provision of healthcare to sentenced persons and overall co-ordination of the responsible institutions

  • Improving the training capacities of the prison staff, which will ensure a continuous and sustainable training programme based on identified needs

  • Strengthening the process of preparation for the release of sentenced persons and the post-penal assistance

  • Enhancing the oversight and monitoring system over the police and prisons

  • Introducing an effective communication structure within the penitentiary system

Who benefits from the action?

This action is closely working with public authorities in the field including the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions, its Training Centre, as well as the Ministry of Health.

The prison staff (both security and rehabilitation departments), medical workers in the penitentiary institutions, as well as the management of all penitentiary institutions will also benefit from the implementation of this action

Certainly, final beneficiaries are the sentenced persons and those deprived of liberty, as well as the society at large

How does the action work?

The action will provide capacity building and technical assistance to related beneficiaries in the efforts to enhance the prison reform and improve prisoners’ rights, in line with European standards.

All objectives and activities were identified in an inclusive manner, with all the beneficiaries who are also part of the steering committee that periodically reviews the achievements of the action.

The action is implemented through desk reviews and providing consultants’ advice (both domestic and international), working sessions and trainings, as well as piloting the designed programmes. Annual roundtables are planned with the stakeholders, focusing on different topics that are relevant. The action is flexible and upcoming additional requests coming from the beneficiaries may be integrated in the workplan.

What do we expect to achieve?

This action builds upon the results achieved under the previous phases of the Horizontal Facility programme aiming to better protect the rights of sentenced persons, in line with European standards. It is expected that the action will achieve:

  • the overall provision of healthcare in prisons is improved;

  • enhanced co-ordination capacities within the Ministry of Health, concerning the provision of healthcare in prisons;

  • the inmates’ reintegration process is improved and supported by the actors in charge;

  • a training strategy and curricula for the prison staff are developed and operational for the needs of the Training Centre;

  • enhanced oversight and monitoring over police and prisons to ensure the protection of human rights of the persons deprived of liberty.

What is the budget of the action?

The total budget of the action is 950,000 Euros.

The budget allocated to the overall Horizontal Facility programme amounts to ca. 41 Million EUR (85% funded by the European Union, 15% by the Council of Europe).

How to get more information?

Horizontal Facility website and e-mail address


About Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye?

The “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye” is a joint initiative of the European Union and the Council of Europe that enables the Western Balkans Beneficiaries and Türkiye to meet their reform agendas in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy and to comply with the European standards, which is also a priority for the EU enlargement process.


Project Contacts

Gjakush Kabashi              Senior Project Officer                +389 2 3100 330                     contact

Irena Bojadzieva               Project Assistant                         +389 2 3100 324                     contact