Penitentiary system

Intervention in detention facilities

ARSIS intervenes in all penitentiary facilities and in detention facilities for youth in the range of Attica, e more precisely: in the Special Juvenile Detention Center at Avlona and in the Women’s Prison of Thiva, since it has been transferred to Koridallos.

The action in places of inclusion aims to create opportunities for education, creative, expression and communication, so that the time of inclusion may not pass in exclusion and inertia. Additionally, ARSIS attempts to build a stable and permanent bridge between the “limit” and the freedom, through the elimination of prejudices and the support after the release from prison.

In particular, during the period from May to July 2011, at the Special Juvenile Detention Center at Avlona, a workshop for wall painting and education in the visual arts was held. The workshop was sponsored by the Leventis Foundation. Two volunteers, the instructor of the workshop and a member of the staff-coordinator of the action were involved in it. Fourteen young prisoners participated in the action.

Also, the handicraft workshop “Loghos kai Ifasma” operates in the Women’s Prison of Koridallos since 2002, aiming to give the opportunity for creative expression to those prisoners who wish to participate, with an emphasis both on the training in fabric elaboration techniques, and on the communication with the detainees, their support and animation. Detainees’ work gets disseminated through exhibitions that are organised at ARSIS headquarters, at the puppet show workshop “Mairivi”, as well as at charity bazaars. The money earned from the sales of works is deposited in the prisoners’ accounts.

The workshop “Loghos kai Ifasma” continues its action in the Women’s Prison in Thiva once a week, and having as a key exponent of its ideology and its way of action the phrase “we can not turn things upside down, but we can turn them inside out”.

In the detention facilities of Diavata, in the region of Thessaloniki, similar interventions are performed steadily. Recently, in 2011 a project on theatrical education in places of inclusion was launched entitled “Prison Art Society” and lasting until 2013. Additionally, it implements, in collaboration with the Court of Justice of Thessaloniki the practice of community service for juvenile offenders, in the framework of Penal Code’s reformatory measures.

The intervention in detention facilities is directly related to the preparation for release and the smooth reintegration. During the last year, fifteen ex detainees, thanks to the cooperation of the staff of ARSIS managed to successfully have a job, permanent place of residence and life perspectives.