The concepts of “prison” and “work”, framed in the broader sense of employability, play an important role in the design of inclusive societies. Prisons population in a European level rises up to half a million men prisoners and 30.000 women prisoners, most of whom come from vulnerable groups and environments (disturbed families, immigrants, extreme poverty, unemployment, weak social networks) and have experienced problematic educational paths. The European average of recurrence is 75%. In Greece the total population in prisons rises up to 10.000.
Convicts Upskilling Pathways is a 36-month project funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ program and aims to enhance the medium to long term employability and the social reintegration of 210 female and male convicts in six European prisons in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and The Netherlands through the design and pilot implementation of innovative training and monitoring tools. These tools, which can be widely used, will enhance the aim of CUP program to broaden its impact from the local to the national and European level, contributing at the same time to change the narrative on prison education.
Specifically, the project will aim to:
Partners comprise a variety of organizations and prison administrations including: Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, Casa di Carita Arti e Mestieri, Fondazione Zancan and Turin’s prison in Italy , HumanRights360, EPANODOS, and three prison administrations in Greece (Chalkida Detention Establishment, Avlona Special Juvenile Detention Establishment, Eleona- Thiva Women Detention Establishment), TIRANTES and one prison in The Netherlands, the European University of Cyprus and Cyprus Central Prison.
Through our participation in the program as a partner, we have undertaken the planning and promotion of advocacy actions, such as the design of an advocacy tool (Advocacy Toolkit). The Tooklit, will include multimedia products, a handbook on advocacy strategy and a repository of documents and documentation related to prison education, aiming to provide policy makers, professionals, institutions and organizations action lines to facilitate prison education and the employability of released prisoners, as well as to promote collective action for a systematic policy change in prison education approaches.