Last week, the Therapeutic Community “Catharsis” within the Penitentiary Institution Nr.9 – Pruncul celebrated two years of activity through a virtual conference, attended by its partners and friends – people and structures, thanks to whom this unique project in the Republic of Moldova came to life – Ministry of Justice, Penitentiary Jilava Bucharest, UNODC Moldova, German Agency for International Cooperation and Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, PO “Positive Initiative”.
The speakers expressed their pride in the fact that none of the community graduates committed any more crimes after their release from detention and are now at large.
“The residents of the therapeutic community are a real example for detainees in Moldovan prisons. The graduates of the community come to penitentiaries and moderate meetings, organize activities, tell their success stories and this has a very big effect”, said Eduard Timofei, director of Penitentiary No. 9-Pruncul.
Current residents of the Community have the opportunity to take hairdressing courses, courses of manufacturing leather goods, develop their organizational and entrepreneurial skills, while being employed. In this sense, the launch of a social business in the Community is also planned in the near future, which will, on the one hand, create more jobs for the residents and, on the other hand, will allow partial financing of the rehabilitation program.
The conference participants stressed the need to assign a legal status to the community, so that any detainee can have access to these services. At the moment, the possibility of becoming a resident of the Therapeutic Community is reserved only for persons detained in closed type penitentiary institutions.
Vladimir Cojocaru, director of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, highlighted the importance of the therapeutic community model, given the success rate in treating drug addiction. “Most people enter prisons because of drug use or trafficking. That is why it is important to extend this practice in more penitentiaries, so that more people can receive help”, said Mr. Cojocaru.
The launch of the community in the conditions of the Republic of Moldova and its results are considered remarkable achievements by partners in the Council of Europe. “The Therapeutic Community is the perfect solution for ensuring public safety and respecting the human rights of detainees”, said Orsolya Gancsos, Program Coordinator at Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe.
During these two years, the participants of the Conference had the opportunity to visit the Therapeutic Community repeatedly and were pleasantly surprised each time. “It was an extremely positive atmosphere, very pleasant, with bright faces, with people who see a future and who see a perspective”, confessed Ina Tcaci, UNODC Moldova Country Coordinator.
The creation of a post-rehabilitation program was also mentioned among the plans for the future, which would include a space and activities for people, who have completed the rehabilitation program, the creation of more employment opportunities for the residents and access to a range of benefits that would motivate the prison population to join the community.
The Public Association “Positive Initiative” provides psychosocial counseling services and participates directly in the implementation of the rehabilitation program from the very beginning. “Today we have results, which we are really proud of, which we can measure in the changed lives of people, in people who now have the chance to live a different life”, said Ina Vutcariov, head of the Department of activities for people in conflict with the law at the PO “Positive Initiative” and psychologist in the Therapeutic Community, who moderated the online conference.
During two years of activity, the community had 27 residents and 8 graduates, who successfully reintegrated into society. The therapeutic community “Catharsis” is a joint project of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, the National Administration of Penitentiaries, Penitentiary № 9 – Pruncul and Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, in partnership with the Public Association “Positive Initiative”.
Translation: Dan Erușevschi