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Stories from Europe

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APAC Hungary
PF Hungary launched its APAC programme in 2009 inspired by the APAC methodology developing by PF Brazil. Due to constraints in the Hungarian prison system, APAC Hungary focuses on the development of family relationships by encouraging interaction through visits and letters. To facilitate this, the programme helps address obstacles such as travel costs to allow relatives to visit their loved ones in the APAC unit.
Preparing facilitators in Czech Republic
In late 2012, PF Czech Republic held a seminar to introduce the Sycamore Tree Project® to volunteers and key stakeholders from the prison service. For the second step in programme implementation, the ministry followed the seminar with a smaller training in February 2013. During that training, the participants talked through the materials, made implementation plans, and practiced role plays with an ex-offender to help provide more authenticity to the training.
PF Germany Recognised with National Award
On 10 December 2012, PF Germany’s Seehaus Leonberg received the German Citizenship award in the category termed “Everyday Heroes.” The award recognised the work of over 100 volunteers helping young offenders prepare for life in the community through the alternative to prison programme.
Sycamore Tree Project® Seminar in Czech Republic
In October, Prison Fellowship Czech Republic held a Sycamore Tree Project®(STP) seminar as part of its programme implementation strategy. The forty participants included chaplains, social workers, and psychologists from the prison service and representatives from various Christian groups including Teen Challenge, the Salvation Army, the Union of Catholic Women, and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.
Project Myriam celebrates 10 years
Project Myriam, PF Latvia’s Communities of Restoration programme, will soon celebrate ten years of serving female prisoners. The programme, based in a separate unit of Ilguciema women’s prison, seeks to prepare women prisoners for release through teaching Christian ethical and moral values and providing skills for their return to the community.
Update from PF Germany
In September, PF Germany celebrated the 8th anniversary for its Seehaus Leonberg programme for young offenders aged 14 to 23. Close to 1000 people attended the “Day of the Offender 2011” event with representatives from both the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches speaking. Other speakers included the previous and current Justice Ministers of Baden Wurttemberg state, the Mayor of Leonberg and a national television presenter.
Alternatives for juveniles in Bulgaria
Recently I provided restorative conferencing training for Prison Fellowship Bulgaria (PF Bulgaria) and several of its partner agencies. The twenty participants represented different public and non-governmental organisations including the Department for Child Protection, the Anti-bullying Commission of Vratsa, the Cultural Centre of Vratsa, the Probation Department, Caritas- Ruse and PF Bulgaria.
Sycamore Tree Project® launched in Germany
In June 2011, PF Germany ran its first Sycamore Tree Project® (STP) in its juvenile offender programme in Seehaus Leonberg.
Following an STP facilitator in England and Wales
Penny Parker began working with the Sycamore Tree Project®in a large London Prison about six years ago. In late February, she began a blog describing her experiences facilitating the Sycamore Tree course. Each article offers a glimpse into the programme sessions as run by PF England and Wales.
STP participants get chance to help the community
A new initiative in Scotland’s Addiewell prison will provide prisoners completing the Sycamore Tree Project®(STP) an opportunity to serve the community. The Timebank allows community members to “deposit” time credits through providing a practical service to others. They can then “withdraw” services from the bank at a later date. The partnership with Addiewell prison will allow prisoners to deposit credits into the Timebank by forgoing payment for one session of education or work each month.
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