Phoenix’s Director of Operations CJ Williams joined fellow international specialists from the Republic of Moldova, Norway and Romania to help a Ukrainian delegation of state officials, prison managers and NGO leaders in advancing their plans for establishing a Therapeutic Communities (TC) for treating substance use disorders in Ukrainian prisons. This event proved instrumental in providing the Ukrainian delegation with the crucial insights and clarity at operational level they needed for this ambitious project.
The meeting created a much-needed platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration, offering Ukrainian delegates the opportunity to present their plans for creating an in-prison TC as an addition to other drug treatment services, potentially in Odessa. The meeting not only facilitated knowledge sharing but also laid the foundation for international networking and support, which is vital for the successful implementation of the TC. The next steps, as suggested by experts and requested by the Ukrainians, include training for prison staff and a communication strategy aimed at presenting the benefits of TCs to both staff and potential beneficiaries. Participants were already introduced to the Pompidou Group’s training “Handbook on Prison-based Therapeutic Communities” which was reproduced in Ukrainian language for the event.
With the support and guidance of the Pompidou Group based on a similar experience in the Republic of Moldova, this initiative could be well on its way to positively impact the prison system and the lives of the vulnerable group of people living in prisons. It will contribute to the efforts of Ukraine to shift focus from a punitive to a rehabilitative approach in the execution of criminal sanctions. The meeting, organized by the Pompidou Group as part of the joint project “EU and Council of Europe working together to support the Prison Reform in Ukraine Plus – SPERU+”, took place on 25 October 2023 in Chisinau.
You can read the Handbook on Prison-based Therapeutic Communities (TCs) here: