POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - JUSTICE

Justice system

Programme to help prisoners reintegrate into society



Justice minister Sam Tanson (r.) and family and integration minister Corinne Cahen presenting the programme on 27 October Photo: MFAMIGR

Justice minister Sam Tanson (r.) and family and integration minister Corinne Cahen presenting the programme on 27 October Photo: MFAMIGR

The government this week presented plans for a programme to help prisoners reintegrate into society, providing them with a dedicated counsellor over the first six months after their release.

Justice minister Sam Tanson and family and integration minister Corinne Cahen on Wednesday presented the project to lawmakers in parliament.

Under the plans, persons leaving prison can receive access to emergency housing for seven days if they have nowhere to stay. This can then be extended to six months during which a liaisons officer and social workers will provide support but also therapy or counselling.

Following these six months, the ex-prisoners under the programme will have access to social housing. The scheme is open only to people who lived in Luxembourg before they were convicted, around half the prison population.

The programme aims to “help people in social distress and who show a certain motivation to improve their personal situation,” the ministries said in a statement, estimating that around 50 to 80 could benefit from the initiative.

Not-for-profits such as the Red Cross or Caritas will help the government implement the project, for example helping provide housing. Previous plans for dedicated post-prison facilities were discarded over fears they would lead to stigma and end up being a prison after prison, the ministers told members of parliament.

A steering committee will oversee the programme and lawmakers requested a review on the success of the scheme in the medium term.

A total of 547 people were serving time at the Schrassig penitentiary as of 16 September this year, Tanson said in answer to a parliamentary question earlier this month. Around a fifth (108) were in prison for drug-related crime, the second-most common offence following theft.