Effective Prison Leadership in Bringing About Necessary Change

Prisons play an essential role in society. They are crucial to human and public security. Developing countries often lack the necessary resources to bring their prison system and their prisons up to internationally accepted standards. They lack the funds, trained personnel, technology, infrastructure, or expertise to proceed with all of the necessary reforms at the same time. This is not to say however that dedicated leaders cannot accomplish significant progress, particularly when they can count on a group of well trained and committed prison officials.

On 24-28 October 2011 EU-UNODC Prison Reform Project conducted Workshop on Prison Leadership (Module 2) for senior prison staff of the Kyrgyz Republic. Training course covered the aspects of effective, fair and just prison management. Prison officials were challenged to identify the reforms that they must contemplate in Kyrgyzstan in order to bring their prison institutions into compliance with international standards.

In order to achieve sustainability in the longer term and to meet future training needs, it is critical that Prison Service of the Kyrgyz Republic creates a cadre of staff who have the ability and competence to deliver training. When establishing a training programme, probably more difficult than determining what to teach is the issue of training instructors how to teach. Many experienced staff can do the various prison tasks in perfect harmony with the goal to be accomplished. Because of this, they are often selected to teach prison skills to new staff and even to experienced peers who wish to upgrade their skills. However, experience, proficiency and even personal performance skills have little to do with ability to teach others. Teaching is an art, a craft and a science. It requires specific skills and trainers need to be trained themselves.

EU-UNODC Prison Reform Project conducted ten day training programme  for training instructors of the Prison Service Training Centre of the Kyrgyz Republic. Participants of this course were carefully selected - well educated, enthusiastic and able to present materials. This group of local trainers is the key to the sustainability of the training programme. Larisa Sdelnikova, Director of Prison Service Training Centre noted: "Participants of the course learn advanced training techniques and I strongly believe that it will considerably improve quality of training courses that we provide for different categories of prison staff. Moreover, Training Manual that is being developed in the framework of the project will provide much needed training reference materials on prison management issues".

In October 2011 the State Service of Execution of Punishment of the Kyrgyz Republic endorsed comprehensive Prison Service Training Curriculum for 2011-2015. Training Curriculum was developed in cooperation with national and international experts in the field of prison staff training. Training Curriculum covers training for new recruits, for in-service training and special topics of effective prison management. Development and implementation of the Training Curriculum is a big part of EU-UNODC prison reform project aimed at capacity building of prison personnel and prison senior management.

Additionally, The Internal Prison Rules of the Kyrgyz Republic were approved by the Government Decree on 23 September 2011. EU-UNODC Prison Reform Project facilitated the revision of the Internal Rules by the Working Group which consisted of representatives of the prison service, non-governmental organizations and independent consultants. Revised Internal Prison Rules  were brought in line with the Minimum Standards Rules for Treatment of Prisoners and Criminal Executive Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. EU-UNODC Prison Reform Project pays particular attention to improvement of legislative framework related to prison reform in the Kyrgyz Republic because it will be key to the sustainability of the project's results.


Photo by Alessandro Scotti