Participants in the inaugural seminar on the prison system held in Tsaghkadzor

Participants in the inaugural seminar on the prison system held in Tsaghkadzor

Practical issues concerning the prison system with a view to international standards were the subjects of discussion at an inaugural seminar, organised by the IRZ on 4 and 5 May 2017 in Tsaghkadzor. The IRZ’s partner for this event was the penal institution department at the Armenian Ministry of Justice.

To speak on behalf of Germany, the IRZ was able to attract senior government official, Thomas  Müller, prison director at the Karlsruhe penal institution. During his lectures, Thomas Müller discussed the treatment of prisoners, criminogenic factors, diagnostic possibilities, risk assessment, treatment measures, sentence planning and the organisational structure of prisons using various organisation charts. He also presented special modular treatment programmes for sex offenders and violent criminals and the work opportunities for prisoners in western Europe. Another topic covered during the event involved disciplinary measures against prisoners.

On the Armenian side, Gevorg Simonyan, Director of the Armavir penal institution, outlined the situation regarding work opportunities for prisoners in Armenia.

The majority of the 55 or so participants at the event were representatives from various penal institutions throughout Armenia, as well as employees of the penal institution department at the Ministry of Justice. Encouragingly, the restructured training centre at the Ministry of Justice and the Armenian Ombudsman’s office also showed an interest in the seminar, with representatives from both institutions also taking part.

This inaugural event on the subject of the prison system, which was organised for a large number of participants with many different contact persons, was the first of many seminars, which will be carried out with small groups in the individual penal institutions. In the meantime, the representatives from the penal institutions were asked to discuss selected topics further and present the results at the seminars to be held later on. This will mean that the training sessions will be more targeted and more thorough.