In the context of the European funded project Educate & Support – Holistic Educational Support of Inmates – Sex Offenders, the project’s consortium completed a Short-term joint staff – Training Activity in Milan, Italy during the period of June 19 – 23, 2023. The training activity was combined with the 3rd Transnational Partners Meeting. Both activities implemented with a duration of 5 full days.
The project’s consortium consists of five (5) organizations from four (4) European countries:
- Cyprus Prison Department (CYPD),
- Eurosuccess Consulting Cyprus (EUROSC),
- Centre for European Constitutional Law – Tsatsos Foundation Greece (CECL),
- Asociatia de Terapie Familiala si de Cuplu Timisoara, Romania (ATFCT)
- Italian Center for the Promotion of the Mediation (CIPM).
The project partners, together with their experts working with inmates – sex offenders (i.e., prison educators, psychologists, criminologists, prison staff, custodial personnel) had the opportunity to participate in this 5-day training which comprised of interesting presentations on the project and its results, interactive individual and group work activities, practical exercises, open discussions, study visits inside and outside the Italian prisons, and attendance of group therapy sessions between current inmates – sex offenders and ex-offenders.
The Italian partner of the project, CIPM, was the host organisation which was responsible for the overall organisation of the meeting and the smooth implementation of all activities, together with the active contribution and support of the project coordinator, Cyprus Prisons Department. The clear instructions and guidelines of the coordinator contributed to the smooth running of the activities and left a feeling of satisfaction to the participants who had the opportunity, not only to meet and discuss with experts from other countries, but also to get to know in practice the prison system in Italy, to observe the behavior of current and ex inmates – sex offenders, and discuss with them about issues concerning their character and behavior.
During the training meeting, partners and experts, had the opportunity to get to know each other and discuss about their experience and expertise on the issue of combating sexual offending through the education and support of experts working with prisoners – sex offenders, aiming to develop and provide tools which will contribute to the integration of sex offenders in society and reduce recidivism rates.
Moreover, the main results of the project: PR1 Model of working with inmates – sex offenders, PR2 ICT tool for competence assessment, PR3 Learning Modules for experts, and PR4 Programme Toolkit with Intervention Programs were presented in an interactive way. The presentations of the aforementioned results were combined with interactive and practical exercises to the participants to further understand the purpose of their creation and to further develop their knowledge and skills on the topic of sex offences.
The highlight point of the training meeting was the partners and experts’ study visit to one of the largest prisons in Italy. There, the participants had the opportunity to observe three group therapy sessions of current and former sex offenders, meet with them and discuss with their psychologists about their background, childhood traumas, behavioral issues, and more, in order to obtain a clearer view of them and their sentence.
Throughout this process, the partners also grabbed the chance to discuss issues related to the progress of the project, the activities that have been implemented so far, the activities that are currently being implemented and the activities that will be implemented in the future until the end of the project in November 2023. As the project results are almost finalized in their English version, the partners will start the translation process and once completed they will start the piloting among the stakeholders in order to evaluate them and fine tune them. The aim of the project partners is that by the end of the project all the results to be finalised in all relevant languages, English, Greek, Italian and Romanian and incorporated into the official project website, available and free of charge to the public.