Out of prison, and then what?

How can society contribute to reducing the risk of released prisoners committing new crimes and going back into imprisonment? One way is through a reintegration process. This process begins long before the release and continues long after the release.

The purpose of imprisonment is to protect society against crime, but also to reduce the risk of prisoners backsliding into crime. The latter can be prevented if the time in prison is used to prepare prisoners’ reintegration into society upon their release.
To prevent reoffending and advance prisoners’ reintegration into society, they require adequate supervision and assistance. Therefore, reintegration must be supported both prior and subsequent to their release.

Society has an important role
It is not just prison managements, who have an important role in the reintegration; society plays an equally important part. If society excludes released prisoners, it increases their problems and the risk of reoffending. Society-based post release measures are of the highest importance in ensuring a robust reintegration process for. State and community based agencies and institutions need to assist prison administrations in their efforts to facilitate prisoners’ reintegration.

“Reintegration of perpetrators and prisoners” seminar
On 5 February 2019, EUPOL COPPS and the Palestinian Correction and Rehabilitation Centers Department (CRCD) jointly organized a day-long seminar. The purpose of the seminar was to shed light on means and methods available to assist and supervise perpetrators and prisoners in pursue of successful reintegration into society to prevent reoffending. Presentations of probation and other non-custodial measures as alternative to imprisonment were also included in the seminar.

The Palestinian perspective
The seminar elaborated the needs of the CRCD to set up and maintain close links with other authorities and non-governmental organizations in order to facilitate prisoners return to society after release.

The outcome of the seminar was an agreement to establish a working group for developing a strategy and action plan on the way forward to develop measures and arrangements appropriate in the Palestinian context.
The seminar took place in Ramallah and was attended by 54 participants, including 20 female, representing various authorities and organizations in Palestine. Seven international and national presenters, including EUPOL COPPS and CRCD, provided presentations with different approaches to the topic.

 

Top Photo: The Head of EUPOL COPPS Kauko Aaltomaa provided the seminar’s opening address, in which he said: “The needs of men and women, young boys and young girls who are released from prison are different. Each of these groups require different support and programmes to be able to reintegrate into the society and avoid sliding back into prison. These different needs must be taken into account”.
Bottom Photo 1: Brigadier Ibrahim Abu Ein, Assistant to the Chief of Police for Research and Planning (centre) also addressed the participants at the opening. To his right sits Colonel Miqdad Suleiman, Head of the Palestinian Correction and Rehabilitation Centers Department, to his left sits Kauko Aaltomaa, Head of Mission.
Bottom Photo 2: Seminar participants (right) seated next to EUPOL COPPS Mission Members, with the Mission's Penitentiary Advisor Lars Widholm in front. The Mission’s interpreters are seen in the interpretation booths in the background.