Step by Step towards a Better Future
For the last years the Government of Georgia has undertaken substantial reforms of its justice sector and achieved significant progress in the probationary system, supported largely through diverse programs financed by the European Union. However, the country is still lacking a sufficient number of complementary rehabilitation services that would give former inmates and probationers a full-fledged second chance for their way back to society and the job-market. In 2014 – 2016 Hilfswerk International together with IDP Women Association “Consent” introduced, with EU-funding, a successful integrative training and support model for reintegration in the Georgian region of Shida Kartli, through which more than half of the 150 beneficiaries trained found jobs or started their own business. Under the second phase of the EU4Justice Program (since 2015), the model was further expanded to other regions of Georgia in cooperation with the National Probation Agency of Georgia under the Ministry of Corrections, the Center for Crime Prevention under the Ministry of Justice as well as the Ministry of Education.
The project strived to contribute to rehabilitation and re-socialization of inmates, former inmates and probationers in Georgia and allowing them “step by step” building a better future for themselves and their families.
The primary focus was to enhance opportunities for vocational education of former inmates and probationers in the regions of Shida Kartli, Imereti and Same-grelo by fostering stronger cooperation between colleges, state probationary systems and NGOs.
To reduce risk of recidivism, the VET trainings were accompanied as a secondary focus by complementary aspects of re-socialization (psycho-social support, job counselling, mentoring, small granting).
In addition, the project aimed to enhance vocational education, training and employment possibilities in semi-open prisons as a means of pre-release preparation for reintegration and re-socialization by piloting targeted practical trainings in prison #15 in Ksani, Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
- 2-3 month VET training courses at an Integration Center in Gori and in collaboration with colleges in Kutaisi and Zugdidi on various professions (e.g. carpenter, car mechanic-electrician, cook)
- Complementary psycho-social and legal support, food and transportation allowance
- Employment support (job counselling, internships, small grants – total budget EUR 100.000)
- Measures for (re-)socialization through mentorship
- Public awareness raising activities
- Practical VET training in Ksani prison
- Study visit to Austria
- Policy dialogue with stakeholders between public colleges, NGOs, ministries and state agencies
- 400 former inmates and/or probationers
- 60 inmates at semi-open prison
- 90 Georgian citizens who are interested to support former inmates or probationers as mentors
This project was supported by