TEAMS

RESCALED is a European network organisation with national offices in six countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal. In each country, different partner organizations are supporting the implementation of detention houses. This is our team of national and European coordinators. 

TEAMS

RESCALED is a European network organisation with national offices in six countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal. In each country, different partner organizations are supporting the implementation of detention houses. This is our team of national and European coordinators. 

The RESCALED offices

The RESCALED offices

The Belgium office (Brussels) of RESCALED
based at vzw De Huizen

Manu, Marlies and Jorgen coordinate RESCALED in Belgium, in collaboration with Hans Claus. They work at De Huizen, the organization that developed the concept of detention houses.

The Portugal office (Lisbon) of RESCALED
based at RESHAPE

Marco and Duarte coordinate RESCALED in Portugal. They are based at RESHAPE, an NGO that seeks to implement humane solutions in small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention houses. RESHAPE implements and disseminates new approaches ensuring dignified reinsertion of all people who are or have been imprisoned.

The Netherlands office (Amsterdam) of RESCALED

based at Restorative Justice Nederland

The basecamp of RESCALED-NL is Restorative Justice Netherlands  (RJN). RJN is the Dutch innovation and knowledge center for restorative justice. Together with team members Elsbeth and Gert Jan, Veronique coordinates activities, like livestreams, knowledge-workspaces, etc.

The Belgium office (Brussels) of RESCALED
based at vzw De Huizen

Manu, Marlies and Jorgen coordinate RESCALED in Belgium, in collaboration with Hans Claus. They work at De Huizen, the organization that developed the concept of detention houses.

The Portugal office (Lisbon) of RESCALED
based at RESHAPE

Marco and Duarte coordinate RESCALED in Portugal. They are based at RESHAPE, an NGO that seeks to implement humane solutions in small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention houses. RESHAPE implements and disseminates new approaches ensuring dignified reinsertion of all people who are or have been imprisoned.

The Netherlands office (Amsterdam) of RESCALED

based at Restorative Justice Nederland

The basecamp of RESCALED-NL is Restorative Justice Netherlands  (RJN). RJN is the Dutch innovation and knowledge center for restorative justice. Together with team members Elsbeth and Gert Jan, Veronique coordinates activities, like livestreams, knowledge-workspaces, etc.

The Czech Republic office (Prague) of RESCALED

based at RUBIKON CENTRUM

RESCALED activities in the Czech Republic are coordinated by Lenka Ourednicková and Jana Smiggels Kavková who both work for the NGO RUBIKON Centrum.

The Norway office (Oslo) of RESCALED

based at WAYBACK

Fabian and Simen coordinate The Norway office of RESCALED, in collaboration with Johan. They work at Wayback, an organisation which supports formerly incarcerated people with their reintegration in society.

The Czech Republic office (Prague) of RESCALED

based at RUBIKON CENTRUM

RESCALED activities in the Czech Republic are coordinated by Lenka Ourednicková and Jana Smiggels Kavková who both work for the NGO RUBIKON Centrum.

The Norway office (Oslo) of RESCALED

based at WAYBACK

Fabian and Simen coordinate The Norway office of RESCALED, in collaboration with Johan. They work at Wayback, an organisation which supports formerly incarcerated people with their reintegration in society.

European office of RESCALED in Brussels

European office of RESCALED in Brussels

members
RESCALED BELGIUM
in cooperation with VZW De Huizen

The Belgium office (Brussels) of RESCALED, based at vzw De Huizen has been campaigning and spreading the message ‘replace the prison system with small-scale detention houses’ for more than ten years. The years of experience have led the Belgium office to build its advocacy strategy around specific target groups: “To launch the penal transition, it is important to start with some small steps. For instance: in 2018 vzw De Huizen 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. In 2020, RESCALED Belgium succeeded in including the concept of detention houses in the government agreement. The current Minister of Justice is therefore making plans to realize fifteen detention houses in Belgium in the coming years. RESCALED Belgium gives advice to the cabinet of the Minister of Justice and tries to create sustainable political support for the future of detention houses in Belgium. 

The Belgium office of RESCALED 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 were drawn up and articles were published in several newspapers. Once certain goals have been achieved new target groups will be set up.

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.

Vzw De Huizen has been promoting the detention houses concept for more than ten years and it is now becoming well known in the political and academic world, within society and in the ‘prison system’ itself. It all started in 2011 when Hans Claus (prison governor at the Oudenaarde prison and founder of vzw De Huizen) came up with the idea of small scale detention. “Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!” During his career as a prison governor, spanning 25 years up to the present day, he discovered that the prison system is not the right way to punish people. “If we are to solve the current problems effectively, we must resolutely opt for a new penitentiary paradigm, namely small scale detention houses.”

Hans Claus presented his De Huizen concept, the dream of ‘a more differentiated enforcement of sentences that fits in with the neighbouring community’, to the Human Rights League. They committed themselves to further develop the concept and then support it. This led to the creation of VZW De Huizen. A number of working groups with professionals from different disciplines were set up. The vzw develops its mission and vision statements and focuses on three principles: small scale, differentiation and proximity.

Vzw De Huizen, supported by various partner organisations and 60 volunteers, has created a large network of organisations and people of all kinds of backgrounds, promoting the small scale detention concept. It keeps expanding its network by contacting schools, universities, cultural centres and attending major events. Finally, the organisation is participating in debates on social issues to raise awareness about the new penitentiary paradigm.

The current situation of the prison system in Belgium is not that positive. The major issues facing prisons today are broadly known. They can no longer be denied. Not a week goes by without someone criticising our prison system. Drug use, suicide, violence, staffing shortages, strikes, overcrowding, high degree of recidivism, unhygienic living conditions, condemnations by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and so on. The large prisons of a former era are clearly negatively characterised. The fact that their problems cause constant commotion in society indicates a great dissatisfaction with the system. These problems are not new, but society expects more from the prison system than before, and rightly so.

The current political actions are contradictory. There is a growing consensus about the need for change in our penal system. Multiple organisations and politicians understand that a new penitentiary paradigm is necessary and the public opinion is changing towards supporting a new system. Recently, the first two transition houses have been set up in Flanders and Wallonia. The first small scale detention house is no longer a dream but is now part of the existing penal system. But apart from this the government is building some new large prisons and even amendments were made to the Law. Now people have to do short prison sentences, whereas in the past sentences up to 3 years were not carried out.

Small scale detention and future steps;

Currently there are two small scale detention houses in Belgium for prisoners approaching the end of their sentences, as stated above. Both houses can accommodate up to 15 inmates. But the government decided to build transition houses for 100 people. In the near future there will be an expansion of our transition houses in Belgium.

Due to the overcrowded Belgian prisons and the amendment to the Law concerning short sentences, a solution for the overcrowding must be found. The Belgian coordinators put forward detention houses as a possible solution and the government took up this recommendation. The current Minister of Justice is planning to build fifteen detention houses in the next three years. The first detention house will open in September 2022.

Small-scale detention houses are now part of the criminal justice system because the current government declares in its agreement that it wants to create detention houses. Future developments will depend on the next government agreement.

Besides those first detention houses in Belgium, RESCALED Belgium is advocating for specific target groups in detention houses. Such as young incarcerated persons between 18 and 25 years old, mothers with their children in prison and elderly people in detention. Several Belgian political parties incorporate this RESCALED solution in their party manifestos, which could lead to specific realizations in the near future.

And last but not least our young inmates between 18 and 25 years old. This target population is mostly at the beginning of a criminal career and is often very vulnerable. Several Belgian political parties incorporate this RESCALED solution in their party manifestos.

RESCALED TEAM BELGIUM
RESCALED PORTUGAL
in cooperation with reshape

The RESCALED concept is not implemented in Portugal: there are no examples of detention places that meet the three RESCALED pillars. RESHAPE 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 RESHAPE for RESCALED is focused on the implementation of a pilot of a small-scale detention house, integrated in the community and with a differentiated treatment of  incarcerated persons. Simultaneously, RESHAPE – 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.

RESHAPE was founded in 2015 with the mission to implement and disseminate innovative solutions to transform the lives of current or former incarcerated persons, providing them the incentives and tools that are necessary for their effective reintegration in society.

RESHAPE’s vision is that the purpose of reintegration – underlying any sentence – will be attained with greater efficacy and humanity if the deprivation of liberty is lived in small-scaled detention places, integrated in the community and with a differentiated treatment of each person. 

RESHAPE also supports that the penitentiary treatment given to each convicted person shall be oriented by principles of human dignity and meritocracy, shall provide for health, legal, employment and spiritual needs and shall be based on peer, community and family support.

As a complement to its main mission, RESHAPE also implements programs focused [i] on the integration of  incarcerated persons into the labor market and [ii] on the development of their personal and social skills.

Portugal has a universe of almost 11.000  incarcerated persons spread throughout 49 prison establishments which vary significantly in terms of dimension and population: there are highly dimensioned and overpopulated buildings with > 1000  incarcerated persons and also small-scale buildings with up to 30  incarcerated persons. 

The prison system suffers from a shortage of staff focused on social rehabilitation and the daily routines of the majority of incarcerated persons are not reintegration friendly. The labor market for  incarcerated persons is practically nonexistent and the hours spent in incarceration are mainly vacant and useless. 

The existence, in Portugal, of small dimensioned prison establishments located within communities represents an opportunity to transform the prison system from within: those prison establishments are potentially good places to implement a RESCALED approach to incarceration, with a differentiated treatment of  incarcerated persons and with the involvement of local communities. Successful results may then pave the way for a broader change.

There are no detention or transition houses in Portugal run by entities other than the prison administration (either institutions, associations or private companies). Apart from electronic surveillance, the national legislation does not grant, until this moment, a legal basis for the deprivation of liberty in a place different from a prison establishment.

RESCALED TEAM PORTUGAL
RESCALED NETHERLANDS
in cooperation with RJN

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.

Restorative Justice Netherland is an NGO. Its  mission is to promoting a more participatory and communicative society by supporting citizens to maintain control over the conflict (or the nature of the underlying problems), its consequences and the possible solution or settlement of these crimes and other conflicts. The ultimate goal is to repair relationships and damage where possible from the threefold perspective of victim, perpetrator and community.

Restorative Justice Netherland’s vision is to connect citizens, scientists, stakeholders and providers of restorative justice and restorative practices in order to increase citizens’ own strengths. To this end, RJN wants to work with people and organizations to find alternatives to and additions to the current, often exclusively legal, framework with which the exceeding of standards and rules is answered.

How does RJN do this?

  1. By building an expertise center
  2. By increasing support through communication and network activities
  3. By conducting innovative programs, projects, research and other activities
  4. By stimulating that more use will be made of the various existing and new provisions of restorative justice

The Netherlands is a country with 17,3 million inhabitants. Any given day there are about 8.200 people in prison plus 1350 with involuntary commitment, 390 people in immigration detention and 395 juveniles in detention. Custodial Institutions Agency has 50 locations across the country and about 13,000 employees. Every year, approximately 37,000 new detainees are admitted. DJI (Dutch Prison Authority) has different types of institutions for various categories of inmates and patients. There are remand centres and prisons for adults. Furthermore, there are correctional institutions for juvenile offenders and forensic psychiatric centres for convicted adults who require psychiatric care. Detention centres are used for foreign nationals living illegally in the Netherlands, individuals who have been refused entry at the border and drugs couriers.

However many houses that are most closely related to the RESCALED vision are legally subject to forensic care. Forensic care is usually ordered by a judge. The forensic care title is the funding basis for reimbursement by the Ministry of Justice and Security. There are 28 forensic care titles: 24 criminal titles, two forms of forensic psychiatric supervision (FPS), in-depth diagnosis and the intended indication of the probation service. Under certain conditions, the latter title can be used to provide a suspect with care before one of the criminal titles is involved.

The forensic care titles can be divided into seven categories, namely*:

  1. Care without penalty
  2. Tbs (involuntary commitment) with compulsory care and pro-justice reporting
  3. Care as a condition of decision by judge, Public Prosecutor or Crown
  4. Care in the context of Forensic Psychiatric Supervision
  5. Care in detention, during the execution of a prison sentence or an ISD measure
  6. Diagnostics
  7. Care without a criminal title
RESCALED TEAM the netherlands
RESCALED CZECH REPUBLIC
in cooperation with RUBIKON

The RESCALED principles are new in the Czech Republic. Restorative justice is a more familiar concept, which is starting to find its way into the programs and services of both public and non-profit organisations. Support of restorative justice is even mentioned among the priorities of the new government as part of the planned reform of criminal justice.

Recently new innovative projects have started to emerge, which aim at deeper changes in the prison system and which are based on similar principles as RESCALED. The Open Prison in Jiřice is one of such projects, another one is a half-way house which is currently being developed by the Probation and Mediation Service.

The Ministry of Justice has promised to prepare a new strategy of criminal justice with the aim to decrease the prison population and also to improve the conditions of victims of crime and reintegration of ex-prisoners. RUBIKON Centrum is chairing the working group which has prepared significant inputs for this strategy.

In cooperation with RESCALED, RUBIKON Centrum wants to support further cooperation of practitioners and stakeholders in order to achieve important changes in the system. We intend to continuously strive for the reform of criminal justice ,both to reduce crime and to reduce the causes of crime.

A not-for-profit nongovernmental organization established in 1994.

RUBIKON Centrum’s mission is to help people who want to overcome their criminal past. The organisation supports them on their way back into society – in gaining and sustaining work, in dealing with debts and being responsible towards oneselves, their families and their surroundings. Every year services are provided to approximately 1,000 clients.

Besides the direct work with clients RUBIKON Centrum cooperates with key stakeholders and strives for changes in the criminal justice system. The organisation is a member of different working groups on both national and regional levels and is active in advocacy and lobbying. RUBIKON Centrum works with politicians and other decision makers, pushing for reform of criminal justice. The main goal is to reduce the imprisonment rate and create better conditions for reintegration of prisoners into the community. 

RUBIKON Centrum has 5 branches in 4 regions of the Czech Republic and a team consisting of 40 employees.

Current criminal justice is primarily focused on the punishment of offenders and it does not provide sufficient space for addressing the needs of victims and the community. The Czech Republic faces the problem of a high imprisonment rate (currently the 5th highest in the EU). Around 20,000 prisoners serve their sentence in 35 prisons. Most of the prisons have a capacity between 500 – 800 places.

There are also three specialist secure detention centres with places for 120 particularly dangerous mentally ill offenders. 

Around 8 % of prisoners are women, their numbers doubled in the last 20 years. Women serve their sentence in 5 prisons, most of them in Světlá nad Sázavou, one of the biggest prisons in the Czech Republic with a capacity of more than a thousand places.

Around 10.000 persons are released each year, around 7.000 after serving a whole sentence and 3.000 on parole. Insufficient capacities of both prison staff and organisations providing after-care make the integration of prisoners even more difficult. Around 65% of released prisoners return to prison during their lifetime, most often during the first 2 years after release.

Open prison and probation hostel as innovations
The open prison project has been running in Jiřice prison for five years. During that time, more than 200 prisoners passed through the open prison, 89 % of them have successfully returned to society and only 11 % have reoffended and returned to prison after release.

The open prison project has been evaluated as a success. The new Czech government has pledged to open another open prison in the next few years.

The Probation and Mediation Service plans to open its first probation hostel for men on their release from prison under parole license. This hostel will be based on the Norwegian model of the halfway house but using experience from other probation services. The house in Pisek, Southern Bohemia will initially take sixteen residents and will be staffed and run by probation staff.

RESCALED TEAM IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC​
RESCALED NORWAY
in cooperation with WAYBACK

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.

RESCALED TEAM NORWAY
NORWAY
Punishment that makes a difference? 

RESCALED principles practiced in existing Norwegian prisons  Norway is a long and narrow country situated