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PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

We have already described education work and

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We have already described education, work and professional training activities. What is important to reflect on here is whether those activities (together with others like sport, cultural activities, offending behaviour programmes, etc.) have a concrete rehabilitative power, other than allowing an improvement in detention conditions. PRISON REGIME
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 43 As a general rule, prisons don't offer a large range of activities. If there are some prisons, where the activities are many and well organized, there are many others where the prisoners have nothing to do and stay in their cells all day long. The job and training offer is insufficient, and the number of s ocio- cultural activities is too small in proportion to the number of prisoners, especially in remand prisons where overcrowding is large. Thus, only a small number of prisoners have the opportunity to engage in organized meaningful activities such as education, vocational training, organised physical exercise, recreational activities, etc. Often treatment activities are only for sentenced and not for pre-trial prisoners. Therefore, in most prisons the majority of inmates remains locked up in their dormitories or cells, their sole occupation being reading, playing board games or watching television. As for the number of hours prisoners spend outside their cells to engage in activities (other than work, education, treatment programmes or religious services) or to associate together will vary from one establishment to another, depending on the availability of constructive activities and supervisory staff. It often happens that, due to the lack of activities available in most closed prisons, prisoners typically leave their cells for only one or two hours of yard time. The European Prison Rules assert that: “all prisoners shall have the benefit of arrangements designed to assist them in returning to free society after release” (33.3.) and “steps must be taken to ensure that on release prisoners are provided, as necessary, with appropriate documents and identification papers, and assisted in finding suitable accommodation and work” (33.7). Prisoners are assisted in finding suitable accommodation and work by the prison administration only in very exceptional cases. In Italy this happens when volunteers take care of it. In Portugal, some orientation is offered by a small number of solidarity associations. In France former prisoners may ask to benefit from the assistance of the integration and probation penitentiary service of their place of residence, for a period of six months following their release. This service may put them in touch with accommodation facilities, but the general rule is that once released, former inmates fall under the competence of common social safety nets, in terms of job or accommodation seeking. In Latvia persons released from prisons have the right to register with the State Employment Agency to receive the status of an unemployed person. Local government city councils have to provide low income
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