Home2023-01-16T19:34:41+00:00

About.

IT’S ALL ABOUT KNOWLEDGE & IMPACT

WISH EU stands for Working in Small Scale Detention Houses in Europe. This European project aims at supporting the implementation of small-scale and community-integrated ‘detention houses’ or facilities in Europe.

Such detention facilities enable the implementation of fundamental rights and facilitate the creation of a constructive climate for incarcerated people and staff. The increased use of detention houses in several European countries shows that policymakers recognize the value of small-scale facilities. At the same time, however, it also shows some challenges. For instance, staff members will need to apply particular working methods and skills when working in a small-scale and community- integrated setting and security will result from the quality of the relationships between incarcerated people and staff, rather than from static security measures.

The WISH EU project will meet these challenges by combining three streams of activities. First, it will centralize and disseminate the knowledge that already exists about small-scale and community-integrated detention facilities and about relational security. Second, it will create new knowledge through exchanges between practitioners, policymakers, researchers and people with lived experience in different European countries. Third, based on this newly gained knowledge, it will contribute to the development of European Rules on the Ecosystem of Small-Scale Detention Facilities and European Guidelines on Relational Security.

Partners

About.

IT’S ALL ABOUT KNOWLEDGE & IMPACT

WISH EU stands for Working in Small Scale Detention Houses in Europe. This European project aims at supporting the implementation of small-scale and community-integrated ‘detention houses’ or facilities in Europe.

Such detention facilities enable the implementation of fundamental rights and facilitate the creation of a constructive climate for incarcerated people and staff. The increased use of detention houses in several European countries shows that policymakers recognize the value of small-scale facilities. At the same time, however, it also shows some challenges. For instance, staff members will need to apply particular working methods and skills when working in a small-scale and community- integrated setting and security will result from the quality of the relationships between incarcerated people and staff, rather than from static security measures.

The WISH EU project will meet these challenges by combining three streams of activities. First, it will centralize and disseminate the knowledge that already exists about small-scale and community-integrated detention facilities and about relational security. Second, it will create new knowledge through exchanges between practitioners, policymakers, researchers and people with lived experience in different European countries. Third, based on this newly gained knowledge, it will contribute to the development of European Rules on the Ecosystem of Small-Scale Detention Facilities and European Guidelines on Relational Security.

Partners

Partners.

TOGETHER.

This two-years project started on 1 March 2022. It is funded by the European Commission and managed by a consortium with five NGOs: De Huizen (Belgium), Farapej (France), Prison Insider (France), Reshape (Portugal) and Restorative Justice Netherlands (Netherlands).
Goals

Partners.

TOGETHER.

This two-years project started on 1 March 2022. It is funded by the European Commission and managed by a consortium with five NGOs: De Huizen (Belgium), Farapej (France), Prison Insider (France), Reshape (Portugal) and Restorative Justice Netherlands (Netherlands).

Goals

Goals.

SOCIAL DESIGN MATTERS.

01. KNOWLEDGE WORKSPACES

Two main goals of the WISH EU project are, first, to centralize and disseminate the knowledge that already exists and, second, to create new knowledge through exchanges between practitioners, policymakers, researchers and people with lived experience in different European countries. These exchanges will be stimulated by the creation of Knowledge Workspaces.

A Knowledge Workspace is a sustainable and locally embedded network that brings together researchers, policymakers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders with the aim to co-create, disseminate and evaluate knowledge and to exchange best practices and expertise that is already available in the participating countries and beyond. Such Knowledge Workspace is based on the following principles: future focused, inclusive multidisciplinary, collaboration, added value, connecting the dots and an eye for the public.

The Knowledge Workspaces that are established in the context of this project will focus on (1) the Ecosystem of Small-scale Detention Facilities and on (2) Relational Security. There are three national Knowledge Workspaces (in Belgium, France and the Netherlands) and one European think-tank with key stakeholders.

02. EUROPEAN RULES ON THE ECOSYSTEM OF SMALL-SCALE DETENTION FACILITIES

It starts with a healthy ecosystem. Different elements of an ecosystem reinforce each other when they interact to form an effective system. The reverse can also happen: a disruptive factor can throw the ecosystem out of balance. A detention context can be viewed in the same way. The different elements of that context can reinforce each other into a safe and constructive context.

When considering the ecosystem of detention houses, we look at detention from a holistic perspective, including the architecture, the social climate, security, community-integration, sustainability, work, individual needs, staff well-being and the use of technology. Indeed, the design of small-scale detention facilities is not just about architecture. It also includes the social design, which means building a positive climate for all people who work, live in or close to the building.

The knowledge about the ecosystem of small-scale detention facilities will be collected by visiting such facilities in Europe, through learning sessions with experts at national and European level and through the exchanges in the Knowledge Workspaces. The more perspectives involved in developing these guidelines and rules, the more relevant they will be for all stakeholders. Special attention is therefore given to the balanced composition of these networks in terms of social and cultural backgrounds, genders, disciplines, and age, and to an equal voice for each participant.

The goal is to anchor this knowledge in policy frameworks, and more specifically in European Rules on the Ecosystem of Small-Scale Detention Facilities.

03. EUROPEAN GUIDELINES ON RELATIONAL SECURITY

In order to perform optimally, staff members need to apply particular working methods and skills when working in a small-scale and community- integrated setting. For instance, security will result from the quality of the relationships rather than from static security measures. In this context, we will explore what relational security looks like in practice; in which conditions it works best; and which set of competencies professionals must have. Based on this knowledge, we will create guidelines on relational security so that (new) staff members can be trained on working in small scale detention facilities.

We use the concept ‘relational security’ instead of the more commonly used concept ‘dynamic security’ to stress that this is about the quality of interpersonal relationships. Whereas dynamic security tends to be intertwined with the philosophy and design of prisons and to go hand-in-hand with traditional forms of (static) security, the goal of relational security is to create relationships that are so solid that other forms of security become redundant. Many lessons and knowledge about relational security come from the field of forensic care.

04. A HOUSE IS A HOUSE: AN INTERACTIVE MAP

In order to have impact on policy and in practice, it is key that all this knowledge reaches the key stakeholders, including professionals working in small-scale facilities and policymakers implementing such facilities. Therefore, we will develop a website with an interactive map that provides an overview of all small-scale detention facilities in Europe. By the end of 2023, the website will be completed and made available on www.a-house-is-a-house.com.

Facts

Goals.

SOCIAL DESIGN MATTERS.

01. KNOWLEDGE WORKSPACES

Two main goals of the WISH EU project are, first, to centralize and disseminate the knowledge that already exists and, second, to create new knowledge through exchanges between practitioners, policymakers, researchers and people with lived experience in different European countries. These exchanges will be stimulated by the creation of Knowledge Workspaces.

A Knowledge Workspace is a sustainable and locally embedded network that brings together researchers, policymakers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders with the aim to co-create, disseminate and evaluate knowledge and to exchange best practices and expertise that is already available in the participating countries and beyond. Such Knowledge Workspace is based on the following principles: future focused, inclusive multidisciplinary, collaboration, added value, connecting the dots and an eye for the public.

The Knowledge Workspaces that are established in the context of this project will focus on (1) the Ecosystem of Small-scale Detention Facilities and on (2) Relational Security. There are three national Knowledge Workspaces (in Belgium, France and the Netherlands) and one European think-tank with key stakeholders.

02. EUROPEAN RULES ON THE ECOSYSTEM OF SMALL-SCALE DETENTION FACILITIES

It starts with a healthy ecosystem. Different elements of an ecosystem reinforce each other when they interact to form an effective system. The reverse can also happen: a disruptive factor can throw the ecosystem out of balance. A detention context can be viewed in the same way. The different elements of that context can reinforce each other into a safe and constructive context.

When considering the ecosystem of detention houses, we look at detention from a holistic perspective, including the architecture, the social climate, security, community-integration, sustainability, work, individual needs, staff well-being and the use of technology. Indeed, the design of small-scale detention facilities is not just about architecture. It also includes the social design, which means building a positive climate for all people who work, live in or close to the building.

The knowledge about the ecosystem of small-scale detention facilities will be collected by visiting such facilities in Europe, through learning sessions with experts at national and European level and through the exchanges in the Knowledge Workspaces. The more perspectives involved in developing these guidelines and rules, the more relevant they will be for all stakeholders. Special attention is therefore given to the balanced composition of these networks in terms of social and cultural backgrounds, genders, disciplines, and age, and to an equal voice for each participant.

The goal is to anchor this knowledge in policy frameworks, and more specifically in European Rules on the Ecosystem of Small-Scale Detention Facilities.

03. EUROPEAN GUIDELINES ON RELATIONAL SECURITY

In order to perform optimally, staff members need to apply particular working methods and skills when working in a small-scale and community- integrated setting. For instance, security will result from the quality of the relationships rather than from static security measures. In this context, we will explore what relational security looks like in practice; in which conditions it works best; and which set of competencies professionals must have. Based on this knowledge, we will create guidelines on relational security so that (new) staff members can be trained on working in small scale detention facilities.

We use the concept ‘relational security’ instead of the more commonly used concept ‘dynamic security’ to stress that this is about the quality of interpersonal relationships. Whereas dynamic security tends to be intertwined with the philosophy and design of prisons and to go hand-in-hand with traditional forms of (static) security, the goal of relational security is to create relationships that are so solid that other forms of security become redundant. Many lessons and knowledge about relational security come from the field of forensic care.

04. A HOUSE IS A HOUSE: AN INTERACTIVE MAP

In order to have impact on policy and in practice, it is key that all this knowledge reaches the key stakeholders, including professionals working in small-scale facilities and policymakers implementing such facilities. Therefore, we will develop a website with an interactive map that provides an overview of all small-scale detention facilities in Europe. At the end of 2023, the website will be completed and made available on www.a-house-is-a-house.com.

Facts

Facts.

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.

In most European countries there are faculties comparable to the concept of a detention house: small-scale, differentiated and integrated into the community.
FACT #1: EVEN THOUGH MOST POLICY AND SCHOLARLY ATTENTION HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO SCANDINAVIAN EXAMPLES, SMALL-SCALE DETENTION FACILITIES CAN BE FOUND IN MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.

In the Netherlands, Exodus has more than 30 years of experience with small-scale facilities and runs 10 small-scale and community-integrated facilities. In Spain, an organisation called Diagrama has been working with this concept of small-scale facilities for many years. Another Spanish example is the halfway house run by Associació Pastoral Penitenciària on Mallorca. In France, the NGO Emmaus runs small-scale and community-integrated ‘prison farms’. Also the Seehaus facilities for young people (aged 14-23) in Germany are small-scale and community-integrated.

FACT #2 MALTA HAS MORE DETENTION HOUSES THAN PRISONS.

There is only one prison for adults in Malta. This prison is called the Correctional Service Agency and houses about 500 incarcerated people. The Maltese NGO RISe Foundation runs a one detention house in Valletta and is currently preparing the opening of more detention houses. These houses are small-scale and community-integrated, in which each resident is supported with his or her rehabilitation and reintegration in a personal and individualized way.

FACT #3: IN SMALL-SCALE PRISONS (<50) INCARCERATED PEOPLE AND STAFF EXPERIENCE A HIGHER QUALITY OF LIFE THAN IN LARGER PRISONS.

Research based on all high-security prisons in Norway shows that small-scale prisons with a capacity of less than 50 are associated with a higher quality of life than larger prisons (Johnsen & Granheim, 2011; Johnsen, Granheim, & Helgesen, 2011). In these small-scale prisons, the relationships between staff and incarcerated people were of better quality and staff reported more positive relationships with senior management. Moreover, British research shows that a higher quality of life in prison is linked to reduced reoffending after release (Auty & Liebling, 2020).

FACT #4 NORWAY HAS MANY SMALL-SCALE AND COMMUNITY-INTEGRATED PRISONS BUT BASTØY PRISON IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Norway has a long tradition of small and local prisons. Several of these prisons have been described as old-fashioned and have recently even been closed down. “These small-scale prisons are indeed built in another time for another purpose and in this sense, they are old-fashioned. The material conditions are not up to date. They are not necessarily designed for interaction, nor for rehabilitation in the sense that rehabilitation is interpreted today. However, these are old-fashioned because they are old, not because they are small-scale and community-integrated” (Antonsen & Wahl Sandvold, 2022). Detailed information about the small-scale prisons in Norway can be found in this report by Katrine Antonsen & Fabian Wahl Sandvold (2022).

FACT #5 SMALL-SCALE AND COMMUNITY-INTEGRATED DETENTION HOUSES ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE THAN LARGE PRISON INSTITUTIONS.

Large prison institutions are not flexible. Building such institutions requires a lot of time and money spent on prognoses, analyses and planning. They are not easy to transform, if and when there is change in the needed capacity, ideology of punishment and trends in the correctional services. Detention houses, on the other hand, are more flexible and dynamic. As they are small and blend in with their communities, they can at any given time be rehabilitated or transformed into e.g. regular houses. This way, they tend towards environmental sustainability.

Stories

Facts.

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.

In most European countries there are faculties comparable to the concept of a detention house: small-scale, differentiated and integrated into the community.
FACT #1: EVEN THOUGH MOST POLICY AND SCHOLARLY ATTENTION HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO SCANDINAVIAN EXAMPLES, SMALL-SCALE DETENTION FACILITIES CAN BE FOUND IN MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.

In the Netherlands, Exodus has more than 30 years of experience with small-scale facilities and runs 10 small-scale and community-integrated facilities. In Spain, an organisation called Diagrama has been working with this concept of small-scale facilities for many years. Another Spanish example is the halfway house run by Associació Pastoral Penitenciària on Mallorca. In France, the NGO Emmaus runs small-scale and community-integrated ‘prison farms’. Also the Seehaus facilities for young people (aged 14-23) in Germany are small-scale and community-integrated.

FACT #2 MALTA HAS MORE DETENTION HOUSES THAN PRISONS.

There is only one prison for adults in Malta. This prison is called the Correctional Service Agency and houses about 500 incarcerated people. The Maltese NGO RISe Foundation runs a one detention house in Valletta and is currently preparing the opening of more detention houses. These houses are small-scale and community-integrated, in which each resident is supported with his or her rehabilitation and reintegration in a personal and individualized way.

FACT #3: IN SMALL-SCALE PRISONS (<50) INCARCERATED PEOPLE AND STAFF EXPERIENCE A HIGHER QUALITY OF LIFE THAN IN LARGER PRISONS.

Research based on all high-security prisons in Norway shows that small-scale prisons with a capacity of less than 50 are associated with a higher quality of life than larger prisons (Johnsen & Granheim, 2011; Johnsen, Granheim, & Helgesen, 2011). In these small-scale prisons, the relationships between staff and incarcerated people were of better quality and staff reported more positive relationships with senior management. Moreover, British research shows that a higher quality of life in prison is linked to reduced reoffending after release (Auty & Liebling, 2020).

FACT #4 NORWAY HAS MANY SMALL-SCALE AND COMMUNITY-INTEGRATED PRISONS BUT BASTØY PRISON IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Norway has a long tradition of small and local prisons. Several of these prisons have been described as old-fashioned and have recently even been closed down. “These small-scale prisons are indeed built in another time for another purpose and in this sense, they are old-fashioned. The material conditions are not up to date. They are not necessarily designed for interaction, nor for rehabilitation in the sense that rehabilitation is interpreted today. However, these are old-fashioned because they are old, not because they are small-scale and community-integrated” (Antonsen & Wahl Sandvold, 2022). Detailed information about the small-scale prisons in Norway can be found in this report by Katrine Antonsen & Fabian Wahl Sandvold (2022).

FACT #5 SMALL-SCALE AND COMMUNITY-INTEGRATED DETENTION HOUSES ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE THAN LARGE PRISON INSTITUTIONS.

Large prison institutions are not flexible. Building such institutions requires a lot of time and money spent on prognoses, analyses and planning. They are not easy to transform, if and when there is change in the needed capacity, ideology of punishment and trends in the correctional services. Detention houses, on the other hand, are more flexible and dynamic. As they are small and blend in with their communities, they can at any given time be rehabilitated or transformed into e.g. regular houses. This way, they tend towards environmental sustainability.

Stories

LEARNING LABS.

A EUROPEAN THINK-TANK

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Contact.

LET’S TALK.

If you want to know more about small scale detention facilities, get in contact with people working on this project!

    Contact.

    LET’S TALK.

    If you want to know more about small scale detention facilities, get in contact with people working on this project!

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