More room for volunteer work at correctional institutions

Prisons and other correctional institutions will make more room in the day programme for volunteers who regularly visit detainees. Detainee aftercare will also be strengthened. Volunteer organisations that assist former detainees in their return to society will continue to qualify for financing from the Ministry of Justice. The quality of volunteer work in the correctional institutions will also be strengthened. For example, as of next year volunteers will be required to have a certificate of good conduct.

This is stated in the Volunteer Work in the Implementation of Sanctions Policy Vision presented today by Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin. A total of approximately 3600 volunteers are active inside and outside the correctional institutions. They visit detainees and support them when arranging practical matters. Volunteers also arrange for training courses to those incarcerated and assist detainees during their return to society. Volunteers make an important contribution within the implementation of sanctions. They constitute as it were a bridge to society for detainees. They thereby strengthen the humane detention climate the Ministry of Justice aims to achieve. Volunteers are also able to motivate detainees to stay on the straight and narrow after their return to society. In this way they contribute to the reduction of recidivism and in doing so also to a safer society.

The policy vision also contains the conditions subject to which volunteer work in prisons, correctional institutions for juvenile offenders, detention centres and TBS clinics is carried out. For example, room for volunteer work is made in the day programme of all correctional institutions. Each correctional institution will also have a designated contact for the volunteer organisations. At the same time, the volunteer organisations will appoint a coordinator who is responsible for the assistance and support of the volunteers and who will serve as contact for the institution. Volunteer organisations will furthermore use a competency profile to select new volunteers. One of the requirements will be that candidate volunteers will have to submit a certificate of good conduct. The volunteer organisations will from now on also conclude contracts with the volunteers. Said contracts will contain, inter alia, provisions concerning their obligations, confidentiality and participation in activities intended to increase expertise.