Seehaus – Juvenile Prison in Free Forms (Germany)
Residential Programme for Juvenile Delinquents as Alternative to Prison
Crime is a problem of the whole society. Imprisonment is necessary for some cases. A high recidivism rate after imprisonment shows, that especially new concepts and forms are necessary – especially for juveniles. For such a concept the needs of all groups involved have to be taken in consideration – the needs of victims, the community, offenders and their families.
In Germany it is possible that juvenile offenders can serve their prison term in a programme of a NGO. 14-21 year old juvenile boys who are sentenced to a prison term of around 2 years will be eligible for the programme. After being sent to prison they will have to apply for the programme. A committee of prison staff will decide whether somebody is eligible for the programme. Seehaus can decide whether they take the person in. He will then stay for 12-18 months in the Youth Farm “Seehaus”.
The aim of the programme is that the juveniles learn how to live a life without crime. The juveniles have to learn, to take on responsibility.
• for their
• for the present
• for the future
• before God and fellow human beings
The young offenders are separated from older prisoners in order to protect them from negative influence. They are housed in an old farm – the Youth Farm “Seehaus”. They live in groups of 5-7 students together with a family or house parents. Through a positive group concept they learn to take on responsibility for themselves, for each others and for the programme.
The perspective of victims is shown to the students. Restoration, Community Service and Victim-Offender-Reconciliation-Meetings help the students to take on responsibility for their crimes and give a (symbolic) restitution towards the victim and the community. In order to give a good foundation for their future life, the students are challenged in the following areas:
- School: the students receive school education with the goal to get their High School Diploma.
- Work & Vocational Training: the students help to renovate the historic buildings on the property, they can choose between different workshops and get vocational training in the area they have chosen.
- Athletics: through athletic activities the feeling of self-worth can be increased, legitimate ways of receiving affirmation within the community and they learn to practice a team spirit.
- Leisure time activities: the students learn how to use their free time by meaningful leisure time activities.
- A change of life style can be reached best by a change of the norms and values of a person. Staff and volunteers of Seehaus live a Christian life style and show by their example what it means to put Christian norms and values into practice and to live as a Christian. These norms and values can also be internalised through devotions, church services and other Christian programmes.
- Integration into the community is reached by a cooperation with Churches, youth groups, athletic clubs, NGOs and with the local economy.
- Volunteers play an important role in the lives of the students. Godparenting, mentoring, study groups and leisure time activities are some of the activities which are offered by volunteers.
Seehaus e.V. is member of Prison Fellowship International (PFI), a global association of 125 national member organisations. With more than 50,000 volunteers Prison Fellowship works for the spiritual, moral, social and physical well-being of prisoners, ex-prisoners, their families and victims of crime. The national organisations are indigenous, volunteer-based and transdenominational. PFI maintains “special consultative status” with the UN Economic and Social Council and is part of the UN Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
The Blue Cross in Germany (registered association) is an organization for addicts and their families. At over 400 locations, in more than 1,100 groups and clubs voluntary and full-time employees engage themselves to aid, mainly alcohol-and drug- dependent people. This is done on the basis of our Christian image of mankind, so that people can achieve their goal: to learn to live free.
The offers of the Blue Cross are open to all who are seeking help, regardless of age, sex, religion or national origin.
The Blue Cross is a community whose members are committed to a lifestyle free of alcohol.
It attaches importance to cooperation with pastors, doctors, judges, probation officers, psychologists, social workers, counseling centers, nursing homes, prisons, clinics, associations and government agencies that deal with the counseling for and treatment of dependents and their families.
The Christian Addiction Care Federation belongs to “Diakonisches Werk der EKD” which is a trade association of the diaconical welfare association and is, amongst others, a member of the Evangelical Gnadauer Community Association and the German Centre for Addiction Issues (“Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen”).
The central work in the Blue Cross done in Germany in the approximately of 1,100 meeting groups in which patients and their families can exchange. Here starts the help for humans, which had no contact to professional Institutions before or who have already finished a therapy.
Help for offenders
Since 1990 in the correctional facility of Brandenburg/H. and since 2006, also in the penitentiary of Luckau-Duben, the Blue Cross offers assistance to prisoners with an addiction problem. This offer was much appreciated and in 1994 it was extended into a residential group (RG) of the prison of Brandenburg/H. The group leader of the Blue Cross is fully responsible for the content of the assistance in the RG.The responsibility of the prison is exclusively in the maintenance of order and security. A close and confidential cooperation is essential between BC and law enforcement agencies (employees) work in close and confidential cooperation.
Our volunteers visit the RG “Life without addiction” at the prison Brandenburg/H. up to 4 times a week in order to work with the prisoners on their addiction, as well as on their personal development. The main task is to attain a satisfied abstinence, in a life outside the prison. Through individual and group discussions, we want to achieve a change in the lifestyle and the ability to provide adequate conflict management. The RG regulations are constantly reviewed and adapted to the respective conditions.
• Life aid in the penitentiary
• Develop group ability
• Becoming aware of addictive behavior
• Learning a drug-free lifestyle
• Personal development
• Help people to help themselves
• Development of personal responsibility and accepting criticism
• Long-term discharge preparation and further help by contacting external groups or therapy institutes
• Help and support in the creation and / or maintenance of social contacts
The RG “life without addiction” is a low-threshold treatment offer, in the social sense. So there is no test for ability to harmonize in groups because every prisoner shall have the opportunity to develop. However, a test is made for motivation, in the sense of voluntary willingness to work on their development within the group.
The object of the residential group is, as previously described, to attain a happy and lasting abstinence. The RG has the characteristics of a self-help group.
Counseling for addicts
The Blue Cross counseling centers are offering qualified and concrete help for addicts and their relatives.
Together a way out of addiction is with them individually searched and discussed. In this connection, the health and family situation of the person concerned as well as their social environment plays a crucial role.
The work of the counseling centers will focus on:
• Individual and group meetings
• Creating a treatment plan
• Introduction and treatment in outpatient or residential treatment
• Outpatient therapies (not all of the counseling centers offer this)
• Cooperation with self-help groups and other supporters of the Addiction work on site
• General public information about addiction prevention, substance abuse and opportunities of help
Training and seminars
The Blue Cross offers a variety of topics-life and hands-on seminars and courses, for example:
• basic training for volunteers in the addiction work
• Seminars for relatives of addicts
• Seminars to questions of faith and life
• Seminars for families, couples, women
• Group leader seminars
• Seminars to chosen special topics
The seminar content is mediated through keynote speeches, group discussions, role games and creative elements.
On the 2nd of November, 1992 The Prison Fellowship Hungary was formed in the building of the Parliament on the initiative of Gábor Roszik with the company of the candidates of that time and voluntary missionaries serving in prisons. In September, 1993 we gained the admission into the organization of Prison Fellowship International which has member organizations in more than 140 countries. Prison Fellowship Hungary is an independent and interdenominational NGO well known across Hungary, working in cooperation with the Hungarian Prison Administration.
Activities and target group
The activity of the prison ministry is aimed at all of those people whom a committed crime concerns or relates to that:
- Convicted, prisoners, released
- Relatives, families of convicts, prisoners, children of inmates and released prisoners
- Victims and their families
- Organizations and their members, directly related to prisoners: staff of penal institution, justice, police
- Community of believers, churches, congregations and society
- Unique cooperation and good relationship with partner agreement based on trust amongst the penal institutions in Hungary
- Positive change of the spirituality of law enforcement
- Voluntary missionary network: more than 300 members in 30 prisons through the whole country
- Conferences, trainings, twice a year, with around 80 participants
- Active programs: Summer camps for prisoners’ children, Sycamore Tree Project, APAC program, Joseph-program, Angel Tree program, Bible Competition for prisoners all over Hungary, Week of Prayer
- Establishment of prison priesthood and cooperation with them
- Publications and distribution of religious literature to prisons
Who are we?
PF Bulgaria is an independent charitable organization founded in 1994, by orthodox priests and public figures from the Eparchy of Sofia, with a range of action throughout the whole country. From its very beginning PF Bulgaria has been a fully chartered member of Prison Fellowship International.The Mission of PF Bulgaria is to create conditions for restoration for all involved in or affected by crime, including restoring the peace in society through reconciliation between offenders and victims of crime.
PF Bulgaria has branches in Sofia, Vratsa and Stara Zagora. In Bulgarian the name of the organization is written Дружество за религиозна и обществена подкрепа на лишените от свобода (ДРОПЛС).
Our successful campaigns, practices and models
Realization of the programs for prevention of early criminalization of children
• PF Bulgaria is a licensed provider of social services for children with a deviant and delinquent behavior, and their families. The model of service is entirely based on the principles and values of restorative justice. Users are juvenile delinquents, sentenced to probation, and their families.
Realization of the programs to reduce the recidivism while serving a term of imprisonment; development of programs for spiritual transformation of the offenders and reduction of the number of crime victims.
• PF Bulgaria is creator of restoration communities in Sofia Prison (2003-2005) and Vratsa (2006-2012), called “Adaptation environment” They put into practice practices of restorative justice in a prison environment. More than 200 prisoners have gone through these communities and take participation in different type of trainings as:
– Basic literacy and math courses;
– Basic computer courses under the Xpert European certificate methodology;
– Construction industry training in several areas;
– Landscaping training (theory and practice);
– Work with families of prisoners through the Visitors centers in the prisons of Sofia and Vratza.
Many of the courses were used as models by the prison administration and applied in other prisons.
Support for the families of the convicted, with the aim of lessening the risk of institutionalization of the whole family and its separation.
• Centers for visitors in Vratsa and Sofia Prisons. The volunteers in both centers are working with over 2000 visitors and 700 children yearly.
• The campaign “Angel tree” ® supports prisoners in their family relationships by providing a way for them to give Christmas presents to their children. Since 1999 over 10,000 children received gifts through the campaign.
Realization of programs for creation of active communities for fighting crime
• PF Bulgaria is Chairman of the citizens network “Active community Vratsa”, which was created with the aim to creating restoration community and opportunity for reconciliation amongst all involved in the crime and establishment of justice for all. The network operates in the territory of Municipality of Vratsa.
• European project “Languages Behind Bars” – within the project is conducted language training for foreign prisoners and prison staff. Its main goal is to promote better and more effective communication, to prevent unnecessary additional psychological and emotional stress will make life easier for prison staff and to facilitate more effective rehabilitation.
Integration for Society (Latvia)
Purpose of the organization
- Reduction of criminality and recidivism in Latvia and other countries of Eastern and Central Europe
- Democratization of the penal system
- Social rehabilitation, integration of ex-offenders into society
- liberation from drugs and alcohol addiction
- Prevention of crime „export” to Western Europe
- Practical implementation of UN recommendations on the development of Restorative Justice programmes, through creation of social rehabilitation centers for ex-offenders and help centers for victims of crime.
Proposed solution of the problem:
NGO „Integration for society” (IFS) proposes a complex solution of the problem.
1. Since May of 1999, the Social Rehabilitation Center (halfway hous) operates in the Riga region This center provide ex-offenders with
- Standard living conditions,during one year
- Work at factorys and farms
- Special psychological program that helps to deal with stress,improve self-esteem
- Program for drug addicts and alcoholics
- Spiritual renewal (ethics) program,based on learning Biblical moral laws and applying them in everyday life,that helps to deal hatred and revenge.
- After spending a year in the Center,ex-offenders become free from desperation and hatred,functioning of their central nervous system is being restored,their values are being changed,they are taught to live in society peacefully and come to faith.In the process of the rehabilitation,personel of the Center assist them in obtaining documents,a place to live and job,as well as to restore relationships with the family,
2. Since 2003, our organization has been working on creating in Riga a center to help victims of crime or those who struggle with depression,where they also can get a legal consultation.
Summary: NGO „IFS” is implementing a complex social rehabilitation program-integrating people,e.g.ex-offenders,into economic,social,cultural and spiritual life of society. People willing to change their lives, to work on themselves,will receive help of qualified personnel,and thus willbe able to change their thinking stereotypes and values,acquire new relationships.This would lead to becoming creators of their destiny, not slaves of circumstances.
University of Cambridge – Institute of Criminology (UK)
The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges.
Research Topics in Criminology
The Institute is highly productive in terms of its academic research. It houses five active research centres:
- Prisons Research Centre
- Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study (PADS+, previously part of SCoPiC)
- Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics
- Violence Research Centre
- Centre for Community, gender and Social Justice.In addition to the research centres and projects, the lecturers all have their own subject specialities and research interests. Staff research topics include the development of criminal careers, sentencing, intermediate sanctions, mentally disordered offenders, the psychological effects of wrongful imprisonment, race and gender issues in criminal justice, the reintegration of ex-prisoners, youth justice systems, suicide in prisons, sex offenders, legal decision making, the effects of social and urban change on crime, and paternalism in criminal law.
Experimental criminology is scientific knowledge about crime and justice discovered from random assignment of different conditions in large field tests. This method is the preferred way to estimate the average effects of one variable on another, holding all other variables constant. While the experimental method is not intended to answer all research questions in criminology, it can be used far more often than most criminologists assume. Opportunities are particularly promising in partnership with criminal justice agencies.
The highest and best use of experimental criminology is to develop and test theoretically coherent ideas about reducing harm from crime, rather than just “evaluating” existing or even new government programs. Testing key ideas, in turn, can help to accumulate an integrated body of grounded theory in which experimental evidence plays a crucial role. When properly executed, randomized field experiments provide the ideal tests of theories about both the prevention and causation of crime.
The many advantages of experimental methods help explain why this branch of criminology is growing rapidly. Just since 2005, the field has seen its first journal established (Journal of Experimental Criminology), its own separate Division of Experimental Criminology within the American Society of Criminology, and the first University centre dedicated solely to this field: the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology at Cambridge University.
die Berater® is one of Austria’s leading providers of training and further education, working extensively with the Austrian Labour Market Service as well as various other private and public entities. The scope of their work and expertise continues to expand as a result of their active participation in transnational projects in the framework of various EU funding programmes. The European project work of die Berater® and their affiliated organisations collectively falls under the platform ‘bridges to europe’ (www.bridgestoeurope.com) which now has criminal justice and the prison sector amongst its core international project activities, coordinating, for example, the Lifelong Learning project ‘Languages Behind Bars’, focusing on tools for effective communication with foreign-national prisoners and detainees (www.lbb-project.eu), as well as overseeing project evaluation in prison-based projects such as CredAbility, PriMedia, Movable Barres and Prison Arts Network.
Their ethos lies in bringing education and other services into non-mainstream sectors, helping the integration and re-integration of socially and economically disadvantaged people into society and the labour market. With their expertise and know-how in the European project field, they are keen to support other organisations, governmental and non-governmental bodies, in achieving their goals and objectives. Looking beyond borders, cooperating intensively with around 350 partner organisations in almost all European countries die Berater® seek to open up new horizons and pathways for European collaboration in diverse fields.