PROGRAMME “THE SKY IS FOR ALL”
Support Juvenile Justice Reform in Albania
The CRCA program to support the reform in the administration of juvenile justice in Albania, is one of the longest-running programs of the organisation. The program has its origins in 1998 and continues to be a key part of the programming. In its beginnings the program has targeted and implemented:
- Capacity building for State Police employees to respect the rights of children in conflict with the law;
- Organization of 3-day courses for employees in the detention centers on international child rights standards, in particular the standards for the administration of juvenile justice;
- Preparation of guides for the police to respect international standards and implement positive models in the area of the rights of children in conflict with the law.
Years 2000-2004 have seen a constant monitoring of the situation of juveniles in conflict with the law, which resulted in urgent recommendations for the elimination of violence and torture against children in conflict with the law and to improve the legal framework, which should provide the final separation of juveniles sharing same premises with adults. The programme provided staff assistance, training course and monitoring of the situation.
Over the period 2000-2004 the program focused also in improving the professional capacities for the psycho-social staff and police regarding the international children's rights and juvenile justice standards. Psycho-social staff for the first time in the history of the system becomes part of the penitentiary system for the treatment of detainees.
In 2004 begins the implementation of the pilot program, "Sky is for all" in cooperation with Italian organisation UISP, focusing on psycho-social and non-formal education activities for juveniles and women in Vaqarr Prison (male), Pre-trial Center 313 (both male and female) and Prison 325 (Female).
During the period 2000-2006 every 2-year monitoring reports on the situation of the rights of children in conflict with the law were prepared and published. All reports have helped to make transparent the concerns on the administration of juvenile justice system in Albania and create enough pressure to push the Ministry of Justice to take action for launching their first serious reform for the administration of juvenile justice in Albania.
In 2007 two national researches were completed which resulted in the publication of analytical studies "Juvenile Justice System in Albania", "Juvenile criminality in Albania" and a Guide for the penitentiary system: "How to work with juveniles in conflict with the law."
Between 2008-2012, in collaboration with UNICEF and Save the Children, the program was implemented in the Vaqarr Prison, the juvenile section and later at the Kavaja Juvenile’s Institute (October 2009), when the institution opened for the first time. During these years, newsletters prepare by and for juveniles were published. The programme developed two models, one on distance education for juvenile in penitentiary institutions and the second one on U-TURN model, on crime prevention and reintegration of juveniles in conflict with the law.
The program has assisted hundreds of juveniles in conflict with the law in their rehabilitation and reintegration through educational activities, entertainment and sports, in collaboration with the educational staff of penitentiary system in Albania. It has lobbied and advocated on behalf of young people in the penitentiary system. We can mention the organization of the hearing session in conjunction with the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Juvenile Justice and Equal Opportunities and UNICEF, regarding "The situation of minors in conflict with the law."
The program in its implementation has informed and increased the awareness of the general public, state institutions and civil society on the issue of children and youth in conflict with the law through the campaign "Sky is for all" and the distribution of informational materials.
From 2009 and onwards, in addition to the above activities, through the program we have been trained all the employees (police and civil staff) of the Institute of Minors in Kavaja, in cooperation with the General Directorate of Prisons, on children’s rights, UN rules on juveniles deprived of liberty, CRC, national and international legislation on juvenile justice, positive practices of working with juveniles in conflict with the law, etc. Special contribution was given to Kavaja Institute in providing assistance for the preparation of the institutional structure.
In 2011 in support of juveniles in Kavajë we enriched this institution library with over 200 books and 60 titles. Since June of 2012 program was conducted and supported all juveniles who were awaiting trial in Pre-trial Centers in Korca, Vlora, Shen-Koll and Tirana.
In December 2012 for the first time in the history of the penitentiary system in Albania, based on a cooperation of CRCA with the Prison Authority, juveniles in conflict with the law in prisons and detention had the opportunity to challenge the world surrounding them by using photography to show places, moments and feelings and express their concept about freedom. An exhibition with more than 30 works of children was open on 10th December 2012 in Tirana.
The major supporters of the program over the years have been: Soros Foundation, DCI International, UISP Italy, Noraid, UNICEF, Save the Children and the USA Embassy in Tirana.