Prison Reform in Kyrgyzstan

The European Union and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Project "Support to Prison Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic" aims to contribute to strengthening the Rule of Law in the country. The project adopts a comprehensive approach within a programme that establishes the basis for the sustainability of the management of the prison service. This includes development of policy, strategy and planning capacities of the prison service, to transform broad objectives into action plans and targeted, high quality training to enable staff to implement plans, despite staff shortages and financial constraints. Summer 2011 was very intensive for the project team who successfully  implemented number of activities.

Training of trainers

In July 2011, UNODC/EU project team continued its efforts in strengthening the capacity of prison administration prison management. In order to achieve sustainability in the longer term and to meet future training needs, Training for Trainers  was conducted on 10-15 July 2011. Participants learned new advanced approaches in adult learning and gained crucial experience in development of interactive training modules of prison personnel. 26 trainers from the Prison Service Training Centre participated in the training. The training of trainers course resulted in the establishment of a pool of national trainers, who will be at the disposal of the training centre to roll out the training programme.  These trainers will be key to the sustainability of the prison reform program and its expansion all over the country. High quality, professional staff is key to the effective management of any prison system and staff training is a key element of the EU and UNODC Prison Reform project, aiming to train staff to transform strategies into action, with targeted training on carefully selected topics. To ensure sustainability of project's results a five year comprehensive training curriculum was developed for all staff of prison service of the Kyrgyz Republic, in cooperation with central prison administration and Prison Service Training Centre, to cover training for new recruits, for in-service training, for external specialists and specialized staff. The Prison Staff Training Curriculum for 2011-2015 has been approved by the Central Prison Administration and will be endorsed shortly. The training curriculum will ensure sustainability of achievements, in particular, when coupled with delivery by national trainers. The basis for ongoing capacity building of prison staff is established with the development of a new staff training curriculum, which incorporated the new topics. A training of trainers program, which trained 26 staff as trainers ensured that the prison service itself has a pool of local trainers available to continue with the training, after the project comes to an end. A training manual designed specifically for the Kyrgyzstan prison service is being developed to accompany the new curriculum. Four Training Modules on prison leadership and management have been developed to support the training process. Additional reference materials were provided to the training centre, including Russian translations of UNODC Handbook for Prison Directors, Handbook on Prisoner File Management, Handbook on Prisoners with Special Needs and Handbook for Prison Managers and Policymakers on Women and Imprisonment. These tools were used in the trainings and are available for continued training at the Prison Service Training Centre in future, ensuring that trainers can refer to international instruments and best practice examples, in delivering specialised training.

Management of prison industries

Social rehabilitation and preparation for release of prisoners should begin on the initial day of the prisoner's sentence and continue into the post release period, In order to ensure a comprehensive and structured approach, EU and UNODC Project "Support to Prison Reform in the Kyrgyz Republic" facilitated discussion on the overall policy focused on the implementation of social reintegration and preparation for release programs. Expert Group on Prison Income Generating Activities and Vocational Training acts as an advisory and supervisory body focusing on the development of prison income generating activities and vocational training. Expert Group has made preliminary selection of prisons that will be supported in the framework of the project. The project will provide funding for basic equipment and improvement to facilities for rehabilitation activities such as bakery, metal and wood work and clothing manufacturing. The management of social reintegration programs require special training and a shift in mentality from the punitive to the rehabilitative approach. In July-August 2011 Prison Reform Project conducted three seminars on managing small scale prison income generating activities to build the skills of prison administrations to establish constructive links with outside organisations, including potential buyers, NGOs, private companies, state structures and business management.

To see, to learn more

Eight representatives of senior prison staff visited the UK on 21-28 August 2011. During this study tour participants had meetings with senior prison officials, including Security Policy Leads and International Affairs Unit officers. Participants met with representatives of National Preventative Mechanism (under Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture) - which consists of 18 members, HM Inspector of Prisons (Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons also chairs NPM), Independent Monitoring Boards, Prison Reform Trust (NGO), Penal Reform International (international NGO), CLINKs (NGO). During the study tour delegation visited prisons of different security category (Cat A, B  and D). During visit delegation of the Kyrgyz prison officials looked at themes across all types of prisons. They included architecture and design, risk and security assessment, categorisation and sentence planning, Work, vocational training and education, recreational, cultural, sporting and social activities, Preventing re-offending programmes, security and order (including discipline, isolation and segregation), healthcare, basic conditions, Contact with the outside world (visit, telephones, letters), lifers and other special groups, early and conditional release arrangements and preparation.

Prison reform and alternatives to imprisonment

EU and UNODC project provided technical/legal expertise to continue with the reform of the legislative framework for the implementation of prison reform and alternatives to imprisonment. It assessed the needs at the commencement of the project, in cooperation with all key stakeholders and provided technical support to the amendment of primary and secondary legislation, specifically prison related legislation, to bring it in line with the UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice, of which UNODC is the guardian. Project focused on thorough revision of secondary legislation, normative acts and internal instructions. This activity was incorporated into the work of the Working Group on Prison Reform, with progress on legislative reforms being discussed at that forum and being aligned to support policy and strategy. The Umut National Programme for Penitentiary Reform came to an end in 2010.  Draft National Strategy for Development of Prison Service of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2011-2015 was developed, following a two part intensive training on strategic planning. The training of senior prison officials on the reasoning behind national strategy for the prison reform and their involvement in the development of the strategic plan for the prisons service ensured maximum ownership and commitment. The objective of this document is to lay the basis for a sustainable prison reform program with the development of sound, long-term policies and strategies to implement the new legislation on prisons and manage prison effectively, in line with the UN standards and norms, promoting social reintegration. Working Group on Prison Reform that was established in the framework of the EU/UNODC prison reform project ensured participation of all relevant state bodies and civil society in the drafting process, promoted ownership and full commitment of key stakeholders to the proposed reforms and developed mechanisms for systemic monitoring and evaluation of ongoing reforms.