The work with juveniles in the Penitentiary institution


On July 4th Civil Society Institute NGO organized a workshop to present the main issues revealed during the research of the social-psychological work conducted with juveniles and of the educational process in «Abovyan» Penitentiary institution (PI).

Representatives of the Penitentiary Department, staff members of the «Abovyan» Penitentiary institution, representatives of the local and international organizations and Office of the RA Human Rights Defender took part in the discussion.  

Everyday life in the Penitentiary Institution

The interviews conducted with 10 staff members of Abovyan PI revealed a need for recruitment of experienced professionals with proper specialized education. One psychologist is not able to work with women, juveniles who are in preliminary detention and convicted juveniles. It is necessary to involve a social worker as well.

Actually, education in Abovyan PI is not mandatory: according to the interviews, only those who want participate in the classes.

The school within “Abovyan “PI has 15 employees. School begins its work at 9 am, in the morning the classes are distributed and the teachers either go to the isolator to conduct classes with detained juveniles or stay at the school to work with convicts. Pedagogues gather together and decide who will do a certain task as there is no clear schedule for the school students from the isolator. Juveniles from the PI are not provided with books and stationary. The school has a problem of hitting system and renovation.

There is a possibility both for convicted and detained juveniles to communicate with the priest from the department of the Armenian Apostolic Church which provide a service to PI. 

During the interviews it was mentioned that the black robes that wear the juveniles exert a psychological pressure and it was suggested to changed the color of the cloths and take into account juveniles’ preferences or allow them to wear civic cloths.

Convicted juveniles are involved in all kind of works according to their own will and capacity.

The research of the possibilities and principles for involvement of juveniles is different working activities revealed obvious differences in respect of convicted and detained juveniles. Detained juveniles do not participate in working activities while at the time when the research conducted two convicts have participated in the technical-economic work and were remunerated.  Other convicts were involved in public works: improvement of the facility, cleaning, arrangement of green spaces, tree cutting, renovation of their rooms, organization of concerts on the holidays, cleaning of the snow in winter time.  Nevertheless, all convicted juveniles are involved in different working activities based on their will and capacity.

Although the PI takes measures to organize leisure and recreation, possibility for detained juveniles to participate is restricted and they are not allowed to leave their cells.

PI does not conduct any work for juveniles after release, they are not supervised, and no any arrangement is made to involve them in the secondary or vocational educational institution etc.

During the workshop participants expressed their views and comments which will be taken into account in the final publication based on the research.

The research was implemented by the support of the Penal Reform International in cooperation with the Office of RA Human Rights Defender.