Registration for the DJI Open Day Starts Today
Registration for the seventh National Open Day of the Correctional Institutions Agency (DJI) of the Ministry of Justice starts today. On 6 November 48 prisons, TBS-institutions and juvenile offenders institutions will open their gates to the public. Anyone interested in a guided tour of one of the participating institutions may register at the website www.depoortgaatopen.nl. Registrations must be entered by 15 October. A total of ca. 10,000 people may visit a correctional institution. The minimum age for participation is 12.
The purpose of the National Open Day is to give visitors an impression of life and labour behind the walls of a remand centre, prison, forensic psychiatric centre or juvenile offenders institution. All the participating institutions are offering their own programmes, complete with presentations and guided tours. Reducing recidivism by helping detainees break out of their criminal behaviour patterns is the central theme. Staff members of the institutions will be present to answer any questions asked by the visitors.
In correctional institutions, people of different ages are detained, for different reasons. For instance, juvenile offenders institutions house twelve to twenty-three year olds, and penal institutions house ‘ordinary’ detainees. There are also forensic psychiatric centres, where offenders are being treated, because they have a psychological disorder. And there are remand centres, where suspects of a criminal offence are detained, pending a court decision. ‘Life inside’ is subject to strict rules. Therefore, staff members are trained in performing security checks and taking protective measures. In addition, each individual offender requires a special approach; after all, juveniles need to be treated differently than psychiatric patients. This is why high demands are set on the level of training and social skills of the staff. They use their professional skills each day to prevent people from reoffending. They work with the offenders to help them to break out of criminal behaviour patterns. In this way the DJI contributes to the safety of society.
In the juvenile offenders institutions all activities are aimed at the development of the juveniles. They are trained, for instance, in social skills. They also attend school. Patients in a forensic psychiatric centre receive treatment for their psychological disorders. This changes their behaviour, which prevents them from reoffending. In the penal institutions a person-oriented approach is of prime importance. The time in detention is used to give detainees effective treatment for their specific problems. If necessary, special care is given, such as addiction care or behavioural training. And this care does not stop when the detainee is released. The DJI helps released offenders to find a house, to get training, to find a job or to receive assistance in solving financial problems, and in this way contributes to their safe return to society. The DJI does this in close cooperation with various organisations.
Registration for the National Open Day is necessary because each institution only has capacity for a limited number of visitors. Registration is subject to the condition that visitors have a Dutch identity card in their own name. The identity details of all registered visitors will be submitted for verification to the National Police Services Agency. The minimum age for admission is 12. Children under 12 may register at the website www.depoortgaatopen.nl for a free guided tour in Museum de Gevangenpoort (‘Gatehouse Museum’) in The Hague or the Gevangenismuseum (‘Prison Museum’) in Veenhuizen. There is only a limited number of tickets available for these tours.