Czech project “Neighbours 83” is not only helping former prisoners to learn new skills, find work and become “good neighbours” upon their release – it has also provided vital services during COVID-19.
It can be hard for former prisoners to re-join society. But a project from Czech non-profit Chance PRO is not only helping former inmates to find work and become "good neighbours" upon their release – it has also provided vital services during COVID-19.
When people are released from prison, Czech statistics show, more than 60% will go on to reoffend. Until now, there have been no tools to reduce this number; in fact, the proportion of reoffenders in prisons has been increasing. With help from ESF funding, Chance PRO’s “Neighbours 83” project was designed to stop this pattern and reduce the number of repeat offences.
In collaboration with telecommunications company A-GIGA, Chance PRO offers a training and mentoring service in Vinařice Prison, giving inmates practical work experience, and encouraging independence. As well as customer service training in the prison's own call centre, detainees and their families receive additional social support, before and after release, to help them integrate into society.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Neighbours 83 project stepped up. Participants with telecommunications experience worked as call centre operators on the government's new COVID information hotline, and Chance PRO temporarily rebuilt its training room into a sewing workshop so that others could produce face masks. Within three weeks, participants had sewed about 23,000 masks for use in the prison service, the police service and other humanitarian organisations.
|Project name||Neighbors 83|
|Duration||2020 - 2021|
|Total budget||€ 150,817.00|
|Contact details|| Vera Babisova|
|Related links|| 1.1. Strengthening employment and supporting mobility|
1.3.4. Active inclusion