Convictus Ukraine reported on a unique reintegration project for women ex-convicts

For the first time in Ukraine, it was possible to ensure sustainability in provision of social services to vulnerable populations through a delegation of authority to the government and establishment of a social institution on the basis of an existing practice of a non-governmental organization. On 23 February 2017, the Kharkiv Regional Council unanimously decided to set up a social institution, the Women’s Crisis Center.

- “This is a great example for NGOs and local governments that are interested in addressing the issues of vulnerable populations and ensuring the sustainability of services previously provided by international foundations, - said Yevgeniya Kuvshynova, the Executive Director of ACO “Convictus Ukraine”. – We’d like to thank our partners, NGO “The Light of Hope”, Advice Consulting Group, and the Network of People Living with HIV for joining us in achieving this result. Representatives of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration, the Lozova District Administration, the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, the Department of Probation of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine also contributed to the strategy of establishing the social institution”.

ACO “Convictus Ukraine” will soon record its experience and present a series of trainings to be disseminated across the country.  

Relevance of the Project

Over the course of the “Three-Step Probation and Post-Prison Reintegration Program in Ukraine” Project, the employees of Convictus together with outside experts have mastered the Program and proved its efficiency. Thus, 82 % of participating women remain socially integrated and successfully reintegrate into society (have families, jobs and substance and alcohol free lifestyle). Convictus Ukraine has developed a clear working procedure for the State Penitentiary Service in referring participants into the Program and built effective cooperation with local government institutions and NGOs to best address the needs of participants. 

Over the project time, the organization could prove the efficiency and relevance of the social adaptation service and made it a priority for the local government to address the challenges faced by women in crisis.

The final result of the project is regional funding for the Center and further adoption and implementation of the Program at national level all across Ukraine.  

About Center

In 2008, All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Convictus Ukraine” launched the “Three-Step Probation and Post-Prison Reintegration Program in Ukraine” Project funded by SIDA and supported by the Swedish Prison and Probation Service and the State Department of Ukraine for Execution of Sentences. The Project involved creating a Halfway House Reintegration Center, the adaptation of Western-European method of reintegration of former prisoners on the territory of Ukraine.

The Center was set up and operates in the village of Krasnopavlivka, Lozova district, Kharkiv region, in a building leased by the Village Council for a term of 25 years. The building was partially renovated to provide modern conveniences for program participants and host 23 women at the same time. The Centre welcomed its first clients in 2010. It is designed for women released from prison and works with all 13 female prisons of Ukraine.

The following institutions were involved in developing the Program and implementing the project: the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine, the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine, the Ministry of Interior Affairs of Ukraine, the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine, the State Social Service for family, children and youth and their regional departments in Kharkiv Region, where the pilot project is implemented.