Since the state reform of 1980, people-specific matters have come under the jurisdiction of the French, Flemish and German-speaking communities, while more country-specific matters remain under federal jurisdiction. Thus, the Flemish government is responsible for ‘social assistance to prisoners with a view to their social reintegration’. However, no single policy or common framework of how to rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners in the society existed. In this context, in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, a proposal was formulated to set up a strategic plan for the provision of assistance and services to prisoners.
The strategic plan details how prisoners in Flemish prisons can best practise their fundamental right to social provision and services, and determines the way in which this will be coordinated. This strategic plan was drafted and endorsed in cooperation with Federal and Flemish Community stakeholders, and is now operationally deployed on all levels within the respective organisations. The key objectives of the plan are a better quality of services to prisoners, stimulating awareness of the programmes, extending the collaboration between both partners, ensuring a better understanding by the community and finally the support of operational staff that provide assistance and services in prisons.
Implementation of the strategic plan in prisons was always accompanied by increased awareness, concrete action plans, training initiatives on the work floor and the follow-up of results by a supra local working group. On the strategic management level, a coordinating Minister and his administration were chosen to supervise all stakeholders from the Flemish Community. A steering group with all these departments was created to coordinate on the supra local level. At the level of the Federal authorities, the regional prison directors translated the strategic objective into an operational objective for all the local prison directors. The Flemish Community and their Federal counterparts collaborated on improving the operational level within the different prisons. This means that both parties are continually involved in the day-to-day decisionmaking processes. The choice to develop a structural and supra local agreement to support the successful reintegration of prisoners in the community has several advantages such as improved durability, a decreased susceptibility to fluctuations in the political environment, the fostering of best practices and a more expanded and uniform value proposition towards the prisoners.
The programme has already had a number of positive effects: there has been a substantial increase in the provision of assistance and services to prisoners and greater participation by prisoners in the programmes offered. The different government stakeholders have worked together to achieve more structurally aligned policies, shared leadership, clear accountability, and more efficient use of resources. The programme’s ongoing success has received growing interest from the French community to develop a similar modus operandi.
|Award category:||partnership working|
|Sector:||Justice, police, human rights and security|
|Type of activity:||strategic management and planning tools|
|Keywords:||Joint mission, joint investment, joint structures, shared leadership, accountability, social equity and inclusiveness|
|Short English description:||The key objectives of the plan are a better quality of services to prisoners, stimulating awareness of the programmes, extending the collaboration between both partners, ensuring a better understanding by the community and finally the support of operational staff that provide assistance and services in prisons.|
|Organisation:||Directorate-General Penal Institutions|
|Level of government:||national level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|