Today marks the completion of the EU funded project entitled “Improving capacities and capabilities within the prison system in the Republic of Serbia”. The project was implemented by the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions within the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the partner organisations from Austria and Germany.
The attendees were addressed by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, Ms. Nela Kuburović, the Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Ms Mateja Norčič-Štamcar, German Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Thomas Schieb, the Federal Minister of the Federal Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, Reform, Deregulation and Justice of the Republic of Austria, Dr Josef Moser, Assistant to the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Marko Jovanović and the Coordinator for EU Twinning and Action Grants of the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) ,Ms Katharina Tegeder.
The results achieved during the implementation were presented by the Project Leader of the member state Ms. Krista Schipper and the Resident Twining Adviser, Mr. Samuli Laulumaa.
The objective of the project was to improve the prison system through the transfer of expertise and good practices developed in the prison systems of EU member states.
During the 20 month project, experts from the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation in partnership with the Agency for Economic Cooperation and Development from Austria, worked closely with colleagues from the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions. Training seminars, workshops, study visits and meetings were organised in order to improve the employability of prisoners and improve living and working conditions within the prison system in Serbia.
The experts in the project also worked on improving the organisational and technical capacities of the Centre for Training and Professional Education of the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions in Niš, which is responsible for the design and realisation of training programmes for prison staff. Through the project, training was provided to prison security services staff, treatment staff and health care staff. Vocational and Education training was provided to female prisoners in the Correctional Facility in Požarevac.
In view of Serbia’s EU accession process, reforms of the Serbian prison system are required to meet appropriate standards related to criminal justice but also to ensure the fundamental rights of prisoners.
The project was implemented by the Administration for Enforcement of Penal Sanctions, the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ) and the Austrian Agency for Economic Cooperation (AED). The contracting authority on behalf of Serbia is the Sector for Contracting and Financing of EU Programmes of the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for payments, accounting, monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the project.
The total value of the project was 1 million euros of which 950,000 euros was financed by the EU, and 50,000 euros were financed by the Republic of Serbia.
The European Union is the largest donor to Serbia having provided over 4 billion euros of support to the country over the past 19 years.