March 2019 – Over the last few months both Portugal and Switzerland have worked hard on the formation of national EPEA branches. Last week the EPEA received the constitutions of both branches and in her online meeting the Steering Committee happily accepted them as new branches.
We congratulate both countries with this achievement and welcome new Portuguese and Swiss members to take part in our activities and also share experience and activities on a national level to grow into an active national platform for education in prison.
The formation of a branch is not always a simple matter. It does help if Prison Education is already nationally organised; in some countries education in prisons is only done by local charities or NGO’s. But then you still need to find the professionals that are passionate enough to spend even more time on their work than they already do. You need to set up an organisation in line with national regulations. You need to find people skilled for all board functionalities. And finally you have to meet EPEA requirements.
This last obstacle is never a problem, since the national branch should aim for the same objectives as the mother organisation. And as you know we aim to improve prison education according to the recommendations of the Council of Europe.
We are looking forward to a productive, but also friendly collaboration with the new branches and of course with our individual members. For as you may know, EPEA is very much about personal contacts. You will soon find more information about the new branches and their contact details on our website.
We wish all board members good luck with their work in the future. Thank you for joining us!
– Chair EPEA