Village of Hope Works Together With Prison Release Program
The National Justice Ministry of Estonia signed an agreement with the Village of Hope who will provide help those released from prison to enter back into society.
Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu (left) and Village of Hope co-founder Märt Vähi shake hands upon signing.
The goal is to give those released from prison the oppertunity to have a changed life, which will enable them to find work, deal with finances, social and phyological problems.
“New crimes committed by those released from prison is a huge problem in our society and for the Justice Department to find a solution for this problem is a high priority. To have support people to help which we have worked out is for certain a help. We now will continue to house and give councilling support” stated Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
Support service now exist such as MTÜ Balti Criminal Prevention and Social Rehabilitation Institute and Non-Profit Johannes Mihkelson Center. But those being released from prison need housing and counselling support.
“The need is that on one side, these people lack a place to live, thus not finding a job, not finding necessary help, they turn back to crime. We value the Village of Hope in that they have strong work program as well as the ability to focus in on their social problems”, stated the Justice Ministry Project Dirctor Stanislav Solodov.
Today the Justice Minister visited to acquaint himself with the Village of Hope. “The men and women here are doing a fantastic work with a 70% success rate with those who have finished the program to be free from addiction and return to society as a law abiding citizen. This is in the best interest of us all”, emphasized Justice Minister Reinsalu.
The focal group includes those who are released, early release, and those on parole. For those being released it is totally voluntary admittance into the program, others who are court ordered will finish out their sentence in the Village of Hope program.
The Village of Hope will offer their services from 14.12.2015 until 28.02.2019. The Village of Hope can accommodate 32 men at one time at present, if necessary. Of these the Justice Ministry will underwrite the cost of 14 for a 6-month period. The Village of Hope will finance the remaining 4 months.
A similar agreement was signed earlier this year by the Justice Ministry for 10 beds with non-profit Aktiviseermiskeskus Tulevik, who also is offering their services from 04.10.2015 until 28.02.2019 for housing and counselling in the southern province of Pärnu. At the same time the Justice Ministry is looking for similar services in the provinces of Tartu and East Viru.
Funds for this has been obtained the European Union Social Fund under “Support services for prison released persons”.