ABOUT THE PROJECT
In July 2019, we made another step as part of the Included Parents Programme by initiating the implementation of the project Included Communities (Uključene zajednice). The project is carried out in partnership with the RODA Association – Parents in Action and the Public Open University Step by step from Zagreb, and it was co-financed by the European Union from the European Social Fund under the Operational Programme “Efficient Human Resources” 2014 – 2020 and the Office for Cooperation with the NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The main goal of the project is to create conditions for more successful rehabilitation and reintegration of criminal offenders in communities by increasing the capacities of civil society organisations.
Specific project goals are:
- sensitising, connecting and empowering civil society organisations to provide services that contribute to the development of more quality post-prison acceptance in the local community
- raising the preparedness of local institutions and the community for more quality post-prison acceptance
- raising awareness of the professional and the general public on the usefulness and opportunities of active inclusion of former prisoners and their children in the community
The project was carried out in 4 cities: Osijek, Varaždin, Zadar and Zagreb.
As part of the project, a pilot-project model of Included Community is developed in order to contribute to the expansion of post-prison acceptance social services to other local communities by strengthening civil society organisations and collaborating with key stakeholders in those communities. By carrying out activities in four different communities, valuable comparative information is obtained to shape the strategies of expanding the model into other communities in the Republic of Croatia.
Project activities that achieve its specific goals:
- conducting surveys regarding the perception of former prisoners in 4 local communities – Osijek, Varaždin, Zadar and Zagreb.
- a series of trainings to prepare and strengthen participants from local civil society organisations for working with this user group
- connecting civil society organisations with the representatives of key local institutions and authorities at inter-sectoral meetings and drafting local policies for post-prison acceptance
- providing psychosocial support to criminal offenders and their family members
- organising volunteering activities in the community and carrying out a digital promotional campaign to raise awareness on the difficulties and challenges that former prisoners, their children and families face when reintegrating former prisoners into the community
- conducting surveys regarding the perception of the employees in the education system towards the children of (former) prisoners
- creating picture books and animated films to sensitise children, the professional and the general public to the difficulties and challenges for the children of former prisoners as a vulnerable group in the society.
Quality post-prison acceptance has been demonstrated to be the basis of successful rehabilitation, reintegration, and reduction of relapse, which is why it is extremely important to establish a firm and rich network of such services and activities in the local community that the former prisoners are returning to.
Including the local civil society organisations on the territory of 4 counties of the Republic of Croatia and achieving intersectoral cooperation, as well as drafting the documents for mapping post-prison acceptance (re-entry) services directly contributes to strengthening the civil society organisations, as well as local communities for an inclusive post-prison acceptance. The activities of the project strive to contribute to sensitising the community, as well as to create the conditions for additional expansion of services intended for former prisoners, their children, and families.