The project, funded by the European Commission, took place from 2012 to 2015 and it is the result of an international partnership that aims to prevent crime and reduce the recidivism in Europe.
In addition to the European Research Institute, the partnership involved a set of institutions committed in the prevention of crime: the Knowsley Community Safety Partnership (UK), the Safety House Haaglanden of the municipality of Den Haag (Netherlands) and the Liverpool John Moores University (UK).
The methodology adopted by the project partners has been the action learning.
Working groups – real communities of practice composed by 5-7 people – were set up to discuss, twice a year, the methods and the most effective tools for tackling recidivism, sharing information and experiences and supporting each other.
By comparing different ideas, the need to develop flexible models able to adapt to different contexts came to light.
The action learning sessions showed that:
- The partner countries – Italy, Britain and the Netherlands – despite different jurisdictions based on different parameters in terms of profiles of offenders and crime patterns, have similar recidivism rate;
- Success of rehabilitation interventions depend largely on the support of the local community: when this is involved in the provision of services in favor of former prisoners (for instance, in the case of entrepreneurs or organizations offering jobs to those who are making progress) there is a greater chance that the recurrence of crime does not occur;
- It is important to start from the young, by promoting educational activities in schools and sports centers and protecting them from the risk of engaging in illegal activity. Furthermore the use of web and social media would facilitate the sharing of information and the psychological support of the weakest.
ERI’s change life programme: how to tackle recidivism in Grugliasco and Collegno
The project partners have developed different change life programmes, with the aim of reducing recidivism, which have been adapted to the specificities of the ex prisoners in their respective countries.
The one developed by the European Research Institute involved three groups of former fresh released prisoners (each consisting of about 15 individuals) in the municipalities of Grugliasco and Collegno (Turin), thanks to the collaboration with the CISAP (intermunicipal consortium personal services). The basic idea was that by intervening immediately after their release, the ex prisoners would be accompanied and guided in a more structured way to freedom and job autonomy.
The first group of former detainees, other than working on values and on the awareness of their mistakes, had the opportunity to make contact with some local companies, to observe that job from the outside.
The second group started with a news: the figure of the tutor. Two former detainees from the first group tutored the ex detainees from the second one. The members of the second group, many of which were entrepreneurs, decided to develop their own projects which had business opportunities. P.E.N.S.O. is one of these.
For the third group ERI worked in partnership with Turin’s District 1 and with the Office of External criminal enforcement (UEPE). The formation of this last group coincided with the opening of La grande bellezia, the multipurpose facility located in via Bellezia 19 that has been managed, from October 2014 to September 2015, by ERI within the project “Oggi vinco io”.