Today, on 04.12.2014 ,at 11:00, in the main hall of the Ministry of Justice, was held the ceremony of signing a cooperation agreement between the General Directorate of Prisons and the General Directorate of Probation Service
At the ceremony was present the Chairman of the OSCE Presence in Albania, the Ambassador Florian Raunig, the General Director of Prisons, Mr. Artur Zoto and the General Director of Probation Service, Mr. Ilir Qafa.
There were also present the Directors of Local Offices of Probation Service.
In this ceremony the participants emphasized the new vision of the Government and the Ministry of Justice for the organization and functioning of penitentiary institutions, how to improve the standards of the rights of convicts, increase security, and cooperation with civil society.
It was also noted that:
- The Probation Service as a law-enforcement institution within the Ministry of Justice, created in 2009, during this period has supervised over 12,000 citizen sentenced to alternative punishments.
- In the interest of the implementation of alternative sentencing probation service has established cooperative relationships with many institutions and civil society to enhance the effectiveness of probation for the supervision in the community and social assistance to prisoners with alternative sentences. In this context there is a cooperation agreement between the General Directorate of Prisons and the General Directorate of Probation since 2009. It mainly consists in the creation of spaces and conditions of probation specialists to interview prisoners who apply for conditional release and preparing evaluation reports at the request of the criminal courts of the judicial districts.
- The Introduction to international experiences and the necessity of implementing the recommendations of the Council of Europe set the necessity of dimensioning the Probation Service activity within the prison system which was finalized today with the signing of a new agreement between the two institutions .
-The Agreement as part of a new vision of the Ministry of Justice and judicial reforms aims to improve thecooperation between the two institutions for a better respect of human rights.
The Innovations of this agreement are :
- Informing prisoners to the mission and role of the probation service in their lives, through meetings, roundtables as well as through the distribution of informational materials (leaflets)
-the Probation Service in cooperation with the General Directorate of Prisons will develop treatment programs for convicts who are on the verge release,
- Communication after release, also called "service after release", is an aftercare that means voluntary reintegration process of the convicted person after his eventual release into the community by the Probation Service .
These innovations finalized in this agreement in the near future will be outlined in normative acts in pursuance of international standards of human rights.
In his speech, the Genral Director of Probation Service informed participants that in the framework of this agreement , at 6 penitentiary institutions the specialists have distributed leaflets on "alternative penalties and the role of Probation Service.
The Speech of Mr. Ilir Qafa, Director of the Probation Service, held on this occasion:
After more than five years of operation the Probation Service is considered as a law enforcement institutions with significant impact on increasing community safety.
In 2014 we have reach a very important objective that has to do with the expansion of the institution and its capitalization throughout the territory.
Thus the opening of ten local offices together with twelve existing enables the functioning of the probation offices in each judicial district.
The Quantitative growth of human resources of the institution is associated with ongoing training and knowledge-oriented update for a number of processes which are realized by the specialists of Probation Service.
The Increased professional capacities throughout 2014 is appreciated by the operators of the justice system who cooperates with this institution.
The Probation Service is increasingly oriented towards fulfilling and implementing activities aimed at social reintegration of prisoners with alternative measures and develop a sense of responsibility to the community .
In this regard, we have increased cooperation with vocational schools to provide vocational training for all persons who consider it as important to their future.
We have also Increased cooperation in the fulfillment of the measures in the community and particularly those working in the public interest by raising awareness of prisoners that their commitment to fulfill various tasks such as near hospitals, reception centers for the elderly, child homes, improves self-esteem from one side and simultaneously evaluating the effectiveness in community.
It is Increased the implementation of restorative justice practices aimed at reconciliation between the offender and his victim and for this purpose we have cooperated closely with non-profit organizations operating in the territory.
Throughout 2014, attention was paid to improving the normative framework that regulates the activity of Probation Service.
So it has been prepared a special legislative package on stage, aimed at filling the gaps to date and improve all aspects that have resulted problematic.
It has been drafted a special law for the Probation Service to accomplish an obligation arising from international instruments for the employees of Probation set out in the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The ongoing fruitful cooperation with the prison administration was oriented only towards the realization of procedures related to the assessment of prisoners who ask for conditional release from the court.
To accomplish this task it is predicted the obligation for the staff of both institutions not only the duty of information but also mutual exchange of professional opinions .
Today's agreement establishes the legal basis for fulfilling the European standards before the entry into force of law for the Probation Service.
Thus, the Probation Service employees will be engaged in the process of moving from transitional living in penitentiary institutions in living in the community.
For this purpose it ise necessary to create relations with the administration of prisons, prisoners family, community and local government units and any other institution that has a role in the process of the reintegration of prisoners.
In support of this goal it is also provided another innovation of the agreement . So Probation Service employees will be engaged in informing inmates Penitentiary Institutions, the mission and role of the probation service in their lives through meetings, roundtable discussion with specialists and prisoners as well as through distribution of information materials.
Another innovation of the agreement will be the inclusion of Probation specialists in the design of treatment programs for convicts who are on the verge release.
Another innovation of the agreement will be engaging in providing communication with offenders after release, also called "service after release". This service consists of an aftercare that means voluntary reintegration process in the community supervised by the Probation Service.