4 to 5 PM+2
Rumor has it that “from a financial point of view, big prisons are the best option, because they benefit from economies of scale!” Is this, indeed, the case? What are the overall costs of detention? Let’s talk about this!
The RESCALED concept is not implemented in the Netherlands that meet the complete concept with the three pillars. However, there are many different small scale houses (22 Exodus Houses) and other provisions for different purposes; reintegration, addiction, mental health care, for juveniles (5 houses realized before 2024), and in some cases, only for specific crimes. The Netherlands is a country where innovative change mostly happens bottom up, while things change slowly top down and through decisions made by consensus, a polder model society. The strategy in the Netherlands is to support all initiatives and organizations related to RESCALED ideology in the work they are already doing and aligning it more to RESCALED vision and mission. We see that there are already many good practices out there of which success has been proven, therefore the focus is on working together with organizations while propagating the ideology of RESCALED and strengthening & upscaling practices and educate professionals towards RESCALED mission and vision. For us, it is not only about creating houses, it is about change in society. Sharing a vision of how to deal with people who have trouble becoming part of society, detention houses being the symbols of this change.
Wayback was founded in 2002, by inmates in Oslo prison. The establishment was inspired by the idea that former prisoners are best suited to help convicts to return to a law-abiding life.
The purpose of the organisation is to help people who are released to get an easier transition to society, by supporting the individual in the process of re-establishing their life. Wayback works for and with both current and former inmates, and assist its members in the five main areas of housing, finances, social network, health and employment. The core of Wayback is the mentoring scheme, meaning that the convict is supported by a mentor who has made the transition to a life without crime. A mentor supports the inmate during and after the sentence, and is committed to giving hope in an otherwise difficult situation. The organisation is further built on the principles of companionship, equality and solidarity. The convict is thus seen as an equal, and not a client.
Wayback has offices in five Norwegian cities (Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Kristiansand, Tromsø), and currently has 14 employees and about 40 volunteers. The offices are open 5 days a week, and offer a wide range of activities and events including yoga, daily lunches, dinners, and cabin trips.
In the near future RESCALED Belgium will focus on different target groups at the prisons. After 8 years of campaigning and spreading the message ‘replace the prison system by small scale detention houses’, the organisation found out that it is also very important to focus on more specific cases. “To launch the penal transition, it is important to start with some small steps.” For instance: in 2018 RESCALED Belgium set up the target group ‘prisoners at the end of their sentences’, and achieved some political decisions to build two transition houses for this specific group. In 2019 the organisation launched a campaign focusing on detention houses for young prisoners between 18 and 25 years old. This topic is already incorporated in party manifestos. Another example is the strategy to develop a business plan for mothers residing with their children (younger than 3 years old) in prison. RESCALED Belgium believes that it is urgently necessary to get this group of people out of the mainstream prison system transferring them into detention houses. Exactly the same thing needs to be carried out for prisoners doing short sentences, and so on.
RESCALED Belgium (De Huizen) is doing everything in its power to achieve the goals of its step-by-step strategy. The organisation is setting up campaigns for students, politicians, prison-based staff as well as for the general public. Recommendations are drawn up and articles were published in several newspapers. Once certain goals have been achieved new target groups will be set up.
There are two establishments in France with the 3 pillars of RESCALED. These are two farms, La ferme de Moyembrie (Coucy-le-Château-Auffrique) (fermedemoyembrie.fr) and La Ferme de Lespinassière (Aude) (lespinassiere.com/pages/village/les-associations/o-g-f-p/). They are members of a NGO called Emmaüs (emmaus-france.org). One other farm will open soon, only for women at the end of their sentence (Ferme Emmaüs Baudonne, www.fermeemmausbaudonne.fr).
These farms are examples that demonstrate the importance of rethinking prison as it is thought today. Far from being utopian, these initiatives have demonstrated that it is possible to propose an alternative model to the current prison system. The farms come closer to the concept of a detention house as defended by the RESCALED movement by promoting the conditions for successful reintegration. We want to promote these small scale facilities. In order to do so, we wish to federate the actors of the prison-justice field (academics, civil society, medias, NGOs, policy makers, prison staff, people in detention, representatives of penal institutions, etc.) and stimulate debate on prisons and its effects on people in detention and staff
The RESCALED concept is not implemented in Portugal: there are no examples of detention places that meet the three RESCALED pillars. APAC Portugal is aligned with them and believes that the most efficient strategy to affirm and spread the RESCALED vision is through the implementation of a pilot that exemplifies the concept in a very concrete way, namely – but not only – in order to prove its outcomes and benefits. Thus, the strategy of APAC Portugal for RESCALED is focused on the implementation of a pilot of a small scaled detention house, integrated in the community and with a differentiated treatment of inmates. Simultaneously, APAC Portugal – inspired by the example of other countries represented in the RESCALED movement – is also advocating for legislative changes that provide a legal basis – currently inexistent – for the creation of detention or transition houses in Portugal, possibly ran by entities other than the prison administration, even if in strong collaboration with it.