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Assistance in Implementing the Strategy of the Penal System in the Republic of Armenia (AISPIRA)

  • Funder: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MATRA)
  • Partners: Civil Society Institute Armenia (Armenia), Penal Reform International (The Netherlands)
  • Project period: April 1, 2021– March 30, 2023
  • Budget: € 952.558
  • Project manager NHC: Mrs. Emma Oosten and Mr. Koen Goei

As a part of its criminal justice system transformation, probation was introduced in Armenia in 2016. Since then, various (foreign funded) projects have taken place to develop the probation system, However, the cooperation that the probation service has with other actors in criminal justice still needs to be intensified. Alignment with, for instance, the prison service, the judiciary and the prosecution service is underdeveloped. Therefore, the NHC together with Civil Society Institute and Penal Reform International, in close cooperation with the Armenian Ministry, designed the AISPIRA project. The project is developed around the idea of working on the intersection of prison and probation in a coordinated manner together with the judiciary, the custodial agency and the prosecution service. AISPIRA aims to create the essential conditions to modernise prison and probation in a consistent, realistic, sustainable way so that the Armenian Ministry of Justice is able to establish a modern criminal sanctioning system that makes societies safer by reducing recidivism. AISPIRA does this by:

  • capacitating the Armenian Ministry of Justice to formulate realistic medium- and long-term strategies for the integrated development of the prison and probation systems, based on the international standards;
  • enabling the prison and probation services to work from a rehabilitative perspective instead of a punitive one, via intensive capacity building;
  • ensuring the efficiency of criminal sanctions execution by enhancing chain collaboration between the prison service, the probation service, the judiciary and the prosecution service.

Leading principles in all activities of AISPIRA are the international standards in prison and probation, notably the European Rules in prison and probation of the Council of Europe and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, which have a direct relation (articles 58–61) to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.