Conference: 10 Years of Probation in Bulgaria
Lecturers at the conference were Steven Petes – former manager of the department for international projects of the British Ministry of Justice and a resident twining advisor under Project “Building Probation Network in Bulgaria” (2005-2007); Randel Barrows – expert in the British Ministry of Justice and a resident twinning advisor under Project “Sustaining Probation Work Capacity in Bulgaria” (2007-2009); Leo Tigges – former Secretary General of the European Organization of Probation; Dimitar Rusinov – chairperson of the Board of Managers of Crime Prevention Fund – IGA; Daniela Yordanova – manager of sector ‘Probation” at General Directorate “Execution of Punishments”, and Andrey Momchilov – expert in Fund – IGA. Other participants in the event were representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, probation workers, psychologists, workers at prisons in Bulgaria, lecturers at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and others.
The following subjects were presented during the conference: Building a probation system in Bulgaria – people, plans, and principles; Transfer of good practices in probation through the Bulgarian experience; Analysis of independent monitoring on probation; Analysis of results from a survey among sentenced to probation; 10 years of probation in Bulgaria; European probation rules and their impact on the probation systems in Eastern Europe.
Boyka Marinska – a people’s representative and a chairperson of the Commission of non-governmental organizations and people’s complaints, read a message of congratulation. Boris Stratiev from Directorate General “Execution of Punishments” with the Ministry of Justice, also congratulated the participants.
Project “Independent Monitoring on the Legislative and Institutional Development of Probation in Bulgaria” has been funded by the Programme for Support of NGOs in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.
Information Day in Pazardzhik
After Pleven and Plovdiv Pazardzhik is the third regional centre where the information event took place. Its aim was to popularize the report from the monitoring. It includes a survey, a series of thorough interviews conducted in 10 Regional Offices “Execution of Punishments”, and statistic information for probation.
Representatives of the interested institutions and non-governmental organizations which took an active participation in a discussion about the condition of probation in Bulgaria and its future took part in the Information Day.
Pleven and Plovdiv analyzed survey on the development of probation
The first Information Day was held on 24th November in Pleven in the conference hall in hotel “Rostov” and the second one – on 1st December in hotel “Seven Hills” – Plovdiv. There were representatives from Regional Office “Execution of Punishments”, Regional Directorate “Social Assistance”, the Prisons in Pleven and Plovdiv, Directorate “Labour Bureau”, Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, municipal administrations, non-governmental organizations, and media.
Experts from Fund IGA used multimedia presentations to show the survey itself, details on the work on specific cases and the hypotheses about them, the work with families, the opinion of the probation workers, etc.
The third Information Day will be held in Pazardzhik.
Thorough interviews in the Probation Offices
The experts from Fund – IGA conducted a series of thorough interviews with probation workers within Project “Independent Monitoring on the Legislative and Institutional Development of Probation in Bulgaria”. The aim of these interviews is conducting monitoring and preparing a report. Ten Regional Offices “Execution of Penalties” were visited. There were interviews not only with representatives of the respective Probation Office – a manager and employees, but also with individuals sentenced to probation as well as with representatives of their families. There were selected 17 cases of individuals sentenced to probation. They were representatives not only of the basic types of crimes under the Criminal Code which require the penalty - probation but also of the basic types of measures within the penalty - probation. Each of the cases is going to be thoroughly analyzed from different points of view: the opinion of the sentenced person and information about him/her; the opinion of the sentenced individual’s family about his/her act; the possibilities for support; the opinion of the probation workers and information about the case from their point of view; the point of view of the institutions concerned in the case including the members of the probation council as well as everything significant to the specific case. The received information is going to be summarized in a report which is going to be presented at the Information Days in Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, and Pleven.
Presenting a project for independent monitoring of probation
Project “Independent Monitoring on the Legislative and Institutional Development of Probation in Bulgaria” was presented on 23rd January at the Press Club of BTA – Pazardzhik. Leading organization is Crime Prevention Fund – IGA.
The main goal of the project is to encourage the inclusion of NGO in the processes of policy formation and decision making together with the institutions at regional and national level, which are related to the functioning of the probation system. The project also aims at making the non-governmental organizations more active in relation to the accountancy and transparency of the public institutions, in particular Directorate General “Execution of Punishments” with Ministry of Justice. The project will renew an already existing model of monitoring on the probation system in the country.
Participants in the event were representatives of Directorate General “Execution of Punishments” with the Ministry of Justice, managers of institutions from Pazardzhik, participants in the project, experts, and media.
Project “Independent Monitoring on the Legislative and Institutional Development of Probation in Bulgaria” has been funded by Programme for NGO Support in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.