INL Completes Project Assisting Prisoners and Staff at Armenia’s Only Prison for Women and Juveniles

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The six-month project “Abovyan Prison: Establishing a Culture of Transparency, Efficiency and Rehabilitation,” implemented by Armenia’s Civil Society Institute NGO (CSI), officially concluded January 18.  This $121,000 project helped improve conditions for the incarcerated population at Abovyan prison (Armenia’s only prison for females and juveniles) by providing training and skills to improve their mental and physical well-being and ability to establish themselves safely in society after their release.  The project introduced sustainable vocational and educational training for incarcerated women by providing them classes in the English language, computer, cooking, crochet and carpet weaving, hairdressing, therapeutic exercise and yoga, and providing skills in career planning and entrepreneurship.  In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the Center for Legal Education and Rehabilitation Programs (CLERP), a sustainability plan was developed for continuing computer and English language trainings, while other trainings will continue using volunteer trainers.  Private organizations will continue to assist prisoners in digitizing books and selling handmade items.

In addition to providing training for prisoners, the project developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for prison staff, including screening and in-depth tests to determine the risks and needs of individual inmates, their psychological and mental health conditions, family ties, and other psychological tests to create an individual plan for each inmate and place them appropriately.  The project also created an orientation guide to provide all inmates with complete guidelines on their rights and responsibilities, access to employment, education, health, religious services, rehabilitation and reentry opportunities, and other services available while incarcerated.  In order to help the prison better manage individual cases the project also established a new digital case management system.  In total, the activities of the project provided the Abovyan prison for females and juveniles with a comprehensive assistance package and sustainable resources that can be duplicated with slight adjustments in other prisons of Armenia.

This project was part of INL Yerevan’s overall efforts to help keep Americans safe at home and overseas by assisting Armenia in improving and modernizing its justice sector and countering transnational organized crime and drug smuggling.  Learn more here about how INL works to keep people safe by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad.