Reintegrating inmates – a EULEX project supporting Kosovo Correctional Service

22 May 2017

In the continuous efforts to support and strengthen the local institutions, as part of its mandate, EULEX’s Correctional Unit held a one week workshop/training for approximately 20 Kosovo Correctional Service Officers. The project’s focus was to help the Kosovo Correctional Service establish a Risk Assessment Unit, which is necessity for each correctional service.

With the newly-constructed Detention Centre in Pristina (Hajvali), an exceptional requirement arose to set-up a KCS Assessment Centre where all new inmates can be thoroughly assessed, categorised and placed in the appropriate regimes with appropriate activities and rehabilitation programs.  This required KCS staff to be trained for the work at the KCS Assessment Centre and to conduct efficient and effective assessments of all new inmates.

The assessment of inmates includes an evaluation of their backgrounds, medical and mental health, as well as their substance abuse, identifying their educational needs, security and risk review. The final step also includes categorising the convict.

Speaking about the training, Marko Hokkanen, the Head of the EULEX Correctional Unit emphasized the need for enhancing the skills of  KCS staff in evaluating all inmates and taking all possible risks into account. This also includes the preparation of rehabilitation and re-integration programs.

Commenting on the training as very valuable for conducting his every day duties, correctional officer Armir Arifaj said: “This training is very essential. It teaches us how to assess inmates. It is especially helpful when we assess for instance, whether there is the risk of re-occurrence of a criminal offence committed by the inmates”.

As part of their future engagement on the project, EULEX experts will help Kosovo to establish an Assessment Centre. EULEX will provide assistance with drafting procedures, regulations, job descriptions and development of the necessary assessment tools.

In addition, EULEX will facilitate a study trip for 10 KCS staff members to learn directly from EU countries about the functioning of similar Assessment Centres. This will help the officers obtain hand-in-hand experience from EU best practices.