First Czech open prison reports record-low reoffending rate
The Czech Republic’s first open prison, which went into operation nearly two years ago, is reporting a record-low reoffending rate. So far, some 92 prisoners have served their time in the minimum-security facility and only three of them have returned behind bars. The reoffending rate at the country’s regular prisons reaches 70 percent.
Most of the detainees in Jiřice have been convicted for less serious criminal offences, such as property crime. They stay in the facility without guards, only in the presence of educators and psychologists and follow a daily routine, which is similar to normal life. The inmates alone are responsible for meeting their daily tasks.
Hana Prokopová is in charge of the Jiřice prison:
“We know that the environment can affect people’s personality. This is why our detainees stay in facilities which resemble civilian houses. But that doesn’t mean they have it easy here.
Due to its location in central Bohemia, most of the prisoners have a full-time job in the automobile industry in the nearby town of Mladá Boleslav.
Apart from facilitating the inmates’ reintegration into normal society, the operation of the open prison is also less costly, explains Mrs Prokopová:
“We don’t have any hard data available at the moment, but just the fact that we don’t have any uniformed and armed guards makes the operation of our prison less expensive.
Over the two years of its existence, 13 prisoners had to be transferred from the open prison in Jiřice to a regular jail due to disciplinary reasons, mostly to do with alcohol consumption. The pilot project is being closely monitored by the country’s Institute for Criminology and Social Prevention, which is to release its assessment in about a year’s time.
If the open prison concept proves effective, the facility will be enlarged to house up to 100 inmates and more such prisons may be built elsewhere in the country.