Network for the implementation of alternative sentence
This project is financed by European Commission, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The overall objective of the Action is to support Probation Service on implementation of alternative sanctions in Albania, offering treatment programs for the offenders in the community. Probation Service is based in finding enhancing and using effectively partnerships within the community and improves public confidence in the effectiveness of comminity sentences. You may learn more on this project by reading our newsletter, which is available on line, both in english and albanian or by visiting www.ncso-al.org
Network of Community Services for Offenders
The establishment of Probation Service in Albania, after the legal framework was adopted on November 2008, is a step forward in the reform of the criminal justice system. This reform will affect sentencing toward individualisation of the sentence, which requires the use of community resources on cutting reoffending through programs for the offenders in the community.
National Probation Service is a new criminal justice agency and its functioning is a long process that will require, as one of the main factors, establishing close relations with community services in order to fulfil its aim on supervising offenders in the community and assisting offenders’ needs. Specific services that already exist in the community can be precious partners for Probation Service in working together to guarantee the effectiveness of community penalties.
The criminal justice system has the responsibility to address offending behaviour but this can’t be achieved without bringing behavioural change and that can be addressed in a non-threatening and effective manner by community service. Our correctional system (prisons and other penal institutions) suffers from the lack of programs that address criminogenic needs of the offenders and assist them on preparation to release and after release with the final aim reducing the risks of re-offending.
According to the research-based evidences, offenders’ needs that bring them again to re-offending are: dependence from drugs and alcohol, behaviour problems, social and family problems and all types of exclusion. Probation Service can’t be effective only by supervising the offenders without using all community resources in supporting them living out the crime and reducing the recidivism through participation and attendance in rehabilitation programs, behavioural programs, counselling for social problems, vocational programs.
Probation Service has difficulties in settling the offenders to specific programs in the community, because of very few and fragile links between justice system and community services, new development of non-custodial sentences and Probation Service in Albania, and a mistrust to community programs seen as non-appropriate for offenders by judges, magistrates, community members and community service providers in some cases.
Probation officers and community service providers will need to enhance their skills to link with each-other, to communicate and understand the common aim of the work with the offenders but also to develop share responsibilities and profile their services to the offenders and to the community.
The project will aim to support Probation Service on implementation of alternative sanctions in Albania offering services for the offenders in the community, improve the community confidence in effectiveness of community sentences and assist Probation Service in finding and enhancing partnerships in the community.
The aim of the project will be achieved through actions such as: establishment of Network of Community Services for the Offenders; offering treatment, rehabilitation and counselling programs for the offenders in the community; capacity building activities for the Network; capacity building activities for Probation Service on collaboration with community services and effective use of community resources; advocacy for community sentencing; partnership activities aiming improvement of confidence and engagement of community in justice system.
specific problems to be addressed by the action.
The project will address problems as: lack of comprehensive treatment programmes for the offenders in the community addressing their criminogenic needs, lack of networking of community services at the support of offenders, lack of links between Probation Service and community services, lack of knowledge and skills to develop and maintain relationships with the community services and non- confidence in community sentences and their effectiveness.
target groups and final beneficiaries.
Target groups will be 1) offenders under non-custody sanctions imposed by Courts in Tirana, Durres Fier and Shkoder, specifically offenders in half freedom; in probation; in conditional release; and in home custody, 2) Probation staff at national Headquarter and at local offices, 3) Network members and volunteers, 4) NGO-members and local groups involved or interested in criminal justice, 5) students of Social Sciences as Social Work and Psychology, 6) general public.
The final beneficiaries will be offenders under community sentences who will be assisted to become ex-offenders and the general public who wants to see less crime and have lower costs.
The proposed project will address the need of the offenders to have treatment, assistance, support and counselling in order to stay away from crime improving their psychological situation, social circumstances, vocational and employment situation.
The project will address the needs of Probation staff to have knowledge and skills about the importance and the effective use of community resources as they are all newly-hired personnel in a new service.
Community services’ staff and volunteers need to know how to work with the offenders and the ways of collaboration with probation officers. Network members will need to know more about Probation Service, requirements for the offenders and collaborative responsibilities with a criminal justice agency.
The project will address the need of other NGO-s and local groups in the community interested or involved in criminal justice to know about community sentencing, offenders’ needs and programmes, possible ways of collaboration with Probation Service.
Activities of the project will address the needs of general public for information about the effectiveness of community sentences, rehabilitation schemes, and supervision of offenders in the community.
The action aims to support Probation Service on implementation of alternative sanctions in Albania offering treatment programmes for the offenders in the community, assists Probation Service in finding, enhancing and using effectively partnerships within the community and improves public confidence in the effectiveness of community sentences.
The project duration will be 24 months and will be implemented in Tirana, Durres, Shkoder and Fier (4 existing pilot probation offices).
· Building and managing a Network of Community Services for Offenders that will support Probation Service to match the appropriate programs for offenders needs and involve local community resources in the implementation of community sentences,
· Developing and offering treatment, rehabilitation and counseling programs for the offenders in the community as drug rehabilitation program, alcoholic program, anger management program, behavior program, vocational training program, one-to one counseling, domestic violence and housing and employment assistance,
· Enhancing knowledge, skills and relationships of Probation Service (national and local) to build and develop partnerships with the community services- essential to the effective commissioning of probation services,
· Enhancing knowledge and capacities of network members and other NGO-s members and volunteers about community sentences and work with offenders
· More information exchanged between Probation Service (national and local offices) and local actors about community resources that will help, assist and support the offenders in the community,Improving confidence of the general public in community sentencing and justice system and raise awareness of the effectiveness of community penalties