Paper: ESF 2014-2020 as an important financial instrument for prisons and probation

“The European Social Fund (201472020): a strategic financial instrument for Prison Systems development in Europe” is the name of the position paper by Pedro das Neves.

In 2009 more than 9,8 million people were held in penal institutions throughout the world as pre-trial detainees or as sentenced prisoners. In the European Union there are nowadays, more than 700.000 citizens under custody of the prison service across 2500 prisons. It is estimated that around 50% of those are in need of core rehabilitation interventions to improve its employability. Approximately 35% are low skilled needing labour market oriented training and qualifications. About 15% need skills upgrade in order to cope with modern production processes demanded by external employers.
Furthermore, each day, more than 400.000 employees all over the 27 EU member states ranging from civil professionals as psychologists, educators, psychotherapists, social workers, administrative staff, teachers, trainers, workshop masters, nurses and doctors to security agents (military or civilians according to each country), prison governors and their deputies – work to ensure safety to society and to provide opportunities to inmates that will ease their reinsertion process back to society. Regardless of their engagement towards this noble mission, the organization of the prison system is dependent of a multiplicity of actors that compel to a continuous balance of apparent conflicting needs, objectives and interests. As in hospitals in which the organisation of the work developed and the qualification of its experts has a direct consequence in the life-death or well being of patients – the work and specific action of prison professionals has a direct impact in inmates life, their attitudes and behaviours prison and after release.
Several EU reports focused on reinsertion, training for inmates and staff conclude about the importance of inmates training, work and support during the transition period in order to ensure better chances of reinsertion into working life outside prison, but also about the complexity of managing and developing prison staff to ensure this aim.

Inmates training, staff training, social reinsertion, employment, organizational innovation and transnational cooperation are keywords of the European Social policies supported by the European Social Fund, being this a strategic financial instrument for Prison Systems development in Europe…

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