First Meeting in Groningen (5-7 November 2012)

Eight countries are involved the VIP project: Romania, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Austria and France. First meeting is organised by Noorderpoort. Topics have been the following: 

  • presentation of each organisation and expectations with the VIP project,
  • SWOT analysis of training practices with prisoners,
  • preparation of national reports about prisons,
  • presentation of web site and discussion about dissemination tools and strategies,
  • planning of evaluation.

A day took place in Veenhuizen. First, partners have been welcomed to the prison museum by Mr. Sipko Biemolt for a presentation of prisons in the Netherlands and more specifically the closed centres for teenagers.

The teenagers who are placed in these centres have committed more or less serious offences since the time of "imprisonment" varies from one day to seven years. In Netherlands theay are around 1000 inmates. They are aged between 12 and 19-21 and usually belong to disadvantaged groups. They are often addicted or may suffer from intellectual disability or even autism. The population of young immigrants is not higher than the population of Dutch youth. When they leave the centre, 60% of the inmates fall back.

The education system in these structures is presented. It is compulsory to participate to a school program. Depending on his level, the young will either be directed towards the preparation of a general diploma validated by Noorderpoort or to the vocational route to learning a practical job through the various workshops available in the centre. They can choose the course. They are allowed to make pratice periods in companies. There is a close cooperation with the industry sector to facilitate the objective of getting a job when leaving the center.

In the afternoon, accompanied by two social workers, partners visit the detention centre for teenagers. It can welcome of sixty-two young people. The tour begins with the cells (for one occupant), the isolated confinement cells and the living areas (kitchen, dining room). It ends with the teaching facilities: library, gym, technical platforms (carpentry, metalwork, cooking, making pallets for business) and the classrooms equipped with computers.

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