- Published: September 26, 2018
The forthcoming reform of the law governing the prison system in Armenia involves several changes, which will directly affect staff working in penal institutions. The IRZ has advised the Ministry of Justice in the drafting of the new law, which is due to come into force during the first six months of next year.
The prison system is therefore in great need of advice when it comes to practical arrangements, treatment programmes, management structures, etc. In order to fulfil this requirement, the decision was made to organise workshops in four institutions to develop customised concepts for the subjects of “individual sentence planning”, “management structures” and “work in prisons”. Expert talks and consultations in individual penal institutions should lead to the identification of any weak areas and the development of shared strategies, which could be defined in agreement with the relevant authorities.
From 14 to 16 September 2018, three consecutive events were held in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Service of the Republic of Armenia to discuss practical issues in prisons.
As German experts, the organisers were fortunately able to attract senior government official Thomas Müller, prison director at the Karlsruhe penal institution, and Heinz Brüche, who is responsible for education at the Bildungszentrum Justizvollzug Baden-Württemberg (a training centre for prison staff in Germany).
First of all, expert discussions were held with the Ministry of Justice for the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan. The following were the main topics of discussion:
- Rehabilitation and reintegration of convicts,
- risk management and assessment methods and
- support and treatment options available in penal institutions.
Representatives from the following institutions took part in the expert discussions:
- Armenian Ministry of Justice,
- penal institutions,
- prison and probation service,
- centre for legal training and rehabilitation programmes,
- European Council office in Yerevan and
- various NGOs, including the Foundation for “Prisoner Aid”, the Office for Human Rights and the Armenian Red Cross.
Afterwards, workshops took place for staff at the prisons in Armavir and Abovyan to cover the following topics:
- Introduction to the reorganisation of quarantine cells in prison system planning;
- reorganisation of the quarantine cells in prison system planning, including diagnosis, establishment of treatment measures, decisions on security and regime;
- introduction of treatment measures to improve criminal prognosis;
- development of work and leisure opportunities for prisoners,
- management structures in prisons and
- delegation of responsibility.
The participants in all three events were very interested and motivated. They asked a lot of questions and took a very active part in group work.
Two other workshops following the same format are due to take place this year at the penal institutions in Sevan and Vartashen.
By the end of this year, participants in the workshops should have developed concepts, taking any local requirements into account, for individual enforcement plans, management structures and work in prisons. These will be discussed and processed in partnership with the two German experts next year at other, more in-depth workshops.