At the end of October the first transnational meeting and the kick-off of the project “Languages Behind Bars” took place. Under the coordination of die Berater the partners met in Vienna to clarify the work-packages and the next steps for the project. Besides of the Austrian coordinator and BUPNET, partners from England, France, Bulgaria and the Netherlands take part. They have all background in working with inmates, inmates’ relatives or in umbrella-organisations.
Paul Talbot is the coordinator of LBB and has worked as a language trainer in correctional facilities. The rationale of this project is based on the high numbers of foreign national prisoners in European prisons.
Paul Talbot: “An inter-lingual, inter-cultural learning programme that incorporates not only the education of offenders on prison-communication and cross-cultural awareness, but also that of prison officers, would encourage more harmonised and effective interactions between staff and inmates. To be able to communicate these basic things in a common language, coupled with a better cultural understanding of each other, would help to alleviate any unnecessary additional pressure on offenders and personnel, thus minimising unnecessary additional psychological and emotional stress, and facilitating more effective rehabilitation. However, being able to understand and communicate with others in a prison setting is conducive not only to more a productive and effective time in prison, but affords inmates the language skills, cultural empathy and self-reflection which contribute to better integration into society and the work force after release.”
What opportunities do the prisons have for trainings and what are their needs? The next steps will be building up connections to prisons which would be interested in piloting and to do a needs analysis to be able to tailor-make trainings that offenders and officers can benefit of.
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