UN agency develops convict rehabilitation programme in Central Asia

By Asker Sultanov

BISHKEK -- The UN is working to develop a programme for rehabilitating Central Asian prisoners, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) spokeswoman Vasilina Brazhko told Caravanserai, citing a roundtable in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, that ended Wednesday (December 21).

The forum brought together more than 50 participants, including Central Asian countries' penal system officials and specialists on justice. The topic was the rehabilitation of prisoners to prevent recidivism and other social ills.

The UNODC, Tajik Justice Ministry and NGO Prison Reform International organised the event, Brazhko said, adding that the participants agreed on the need to improve educational programmes, including job training, for convicts. They also called for the establishment of prison industries that can meet international standards.

Rehabilitation programmes will enable the successful return of ex-convicts to society, Ilkhom Makhmudzoda, deputy chief of the Tajik penal system, said, according to the UNODC.

Programmes for prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration are a major part of the UNODC's goals for Central Asia in 2015-2019, Amelia Hannaford, head of the UNODC Programme Office in Tajikistan, said at the forum, adding that successful rehabilitation will benefit public safety in Central Asia.

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