Archive of European Projects

Ecological Economics in Prison Work Administration
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 31 Aug 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Employment is known to be a key factor in helping to reduce re-offending. Research confirms that this social reintegration is directly linked to re-entry into the labour market and prison workshops aim to fulfil a key role in providing and maintaining essential work habits (ExOCoP Policy Forum Berlin (2012); Allan and Steffensmeier (1989); Uggen’s (2000); Visher, Christy, Sara Debus and Jennifer Yahner(2008); Latessa, Edward (2012)). Prison systems, across Europe aim to provide more prisoners with the skills and motivation to turn away from crime, improve their employability, and become productive members of society. The focus is to provide inmates with the chance to learn the skills need to get a job upon release. Prison industries seen as “professionalized” prison work are nowadays at the spotlight in several European countries. European economic crisis has generated financial restrictions in European prison systems. In addition, many European prison services face overcrowding. Besides these trends, prison systems have to manage how to comply with the respect of human rights and European rules. Costs per inmate are expected to increase sharply in the forthcoming years putting huge pressure to prison systems which need to address these challenges with less public resources, namely from state budget. One opportunity arising can combine inmates’ preparation to labour market return with prisons’ own funds increase. Prison Industries provides a supporting role to prison establishments, for the management of their industrial workshops. It facilitates and coordinates the in-house production and supply of essential clothing and goods for internal consumption, providing essential employment for prisoners and opportunities for them to gain skills, qualifications and work experience to improve their employability prospects upon release. The importance of prison work and industries at the European scene has been reinforced by different EC reports, and by the conclusions of the XVIII European Prison Research Forum held in Lisbon in March 2014. Prisons staff is highly trained in legal, security, psychology, social work and other support domains, but is commonly understood the lack of entrepreneurship, business development and management, marketing, design and communication and marketing skills. “Business” orientation is critical to engage with companies or to have a rational use of prisons’ existent resources. The project is based on the concept of ecological economics and on the ecological model of social work. Ecological economics is related to the question of economic activities sustainability with scarce resources and the need to reduce the throughput, which is achievable by enhancing the productivity of the resources in hand. On the same line, the ecological model of social work looks for alternative answers to the reintegration process, mobilizing the scarce resources at hand. Project’s transnational dimension facilitates the exchange of experiences between partners. It will facilitate the dissemination of best practices and enrich offenders’ labour market re-entry integrated strategies. This project gathers in its consortia Prison Administrations from different countries, universities, training organizations and private companies, aiming to develop a work-based joint curricula - to be delivered in a blended learning format using ICT, intensive short-term training courses addressing prison work initiatives and management skills, namely: prison work and industries awareness; marketing, management, innovation in public correctional organisations, entrepreneurship, communication, ICT and teamwork. The course will be complemented by the development of pilot actions that will create two teams, in one or two prisons per country, supported by: knowledge exchange with ICT platforms; the establishment of a community of practices/knowledge; short-term transnational trainings and other events with the goal of setting at least one prison work initiative in each participating prison. Project specific goals: 1. Create 1 joint curricula: work-based VET training courses to promote inmates reintegration throughout prison work initiatives, by developing staff management skills, namely: prison work and industries awareness, marketing, management, innovation, entrepreneurship, communication, ICT , ecological economics and teamwork in prison staff; 2. Train 36 prison staff, in 3 countries, in multidisciplinary teams of 6 members (2 per country), with 3 short-term transnational training events, to develop and implement innovative „prison work” actions engaging at least 20 inmates per country; 3. Improve community and businesses participation in staff and inmates labour reintegration actions by engaging key stakeholders and experts in national seminars, validation workshops, transnational events and involvement in trainings' pilot actions
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