The purpose of the Czech Association of Organisations Working in Penal Affaires (AOOV) is to connect various stakeholders in the field of penal and criminal justice and to contribute to systemic changes in this area. The association aims to encourage the development of a system that takes into account the interests and needs of offenders, victims, and society as a whole.
What are the principles behind our work?
What is the problem we are dealing with?
The Czech Republic has one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe. Currently more than 21,000 people are serving sentences in Czech Prisons. While crime rates are falling in the country, the incarceration rate is not declining. Over 70% of those released from prison are reconvicted and sentenced to a further term of imprisonment. These facts have negative social and economic consequences for all involved. The Association will focus on a primary reason behind this state of affairs which it believes is the failure to provide continuous rehabilitative work with prisoners both during their sentence and after their release.
What Do We Do?
The roots of the problem
- Criminal code and policy – The Czech Republic is one of the countries where offenders are sentenced to the longest prison sentences. At the same time, people are sent to prison for minor offenses where restriction of liberty for public protection is not required (e.g. parents who fail to pay maintenance and repeat minor property offenders).
- Penal system – prison overcrowding combined with a lack of sufficient professional staff is reducing the possibility for professional rehabilitative treatment of prisoners.
- Social system and policy – the post-release support system is fragmented and inadequate. It fails to effectively support even those prisoners who want to make a change to their lives.
- Concerns and myths – people with criminal convictions raise concerns among the public that lead to prejudice and a preference for punitive, harsh and restrictive solutions.