Boyana Residence, Bulgaria
May, 2005

Under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Terry DAVIS Sous le patronage de Monsieur Terry DAVIS, Secrétaire Général du Conseil de I’Europe

Participating countries: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Northern, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA

Special Thanks

The 10th EPEA Conference is organized by:
General Directorate “Execution of Sentences” by the Ministry of Justice, Bulgaria and the EPEA Steering Committee.

The 10th EPEA Conference is gratefully sponsored by:
Ministry of Justice, Bulgaria; General Directorate “Execution of Sentences”, by the Ministry of Justice, Bulgaria; States Fund “Penitentiary Science”, Bulgaria; the European Community, Socrates Program, Accompanying Measures Action.

In arranging the 10th EPEA Conference the Organising Committee has been gratefully assisted by an international team:
Miroslava Staneva, Snejana Radkova, and Vladislav Rulinski from Bulgaria; Per Thrane from Denmark; Anne Costelloe and Cormac Behan from Ireland; Asbjorn Stoverud, Jon Erik Roenning and Leif Lyngstad from Norway.


Organizing the anniversary 10th EPEA Conference in Bulgaria was a challenging task. It was hard to follow the high standards of the memorable EPEA Conferences in the Netherlands, 2001 and in Norway, 2003. When the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice accepted the idea to host the 10th EPEA Conference and the Organizing Committee was formed, the word challenge became the most often used term in all discussions. Thinking about the conference theme we came to the unanimous decision to put the emphasis on the challenges and the opportunities in the processes of renewal and reform in prison education services.

The conference title “Challenges for European Prison Education – Let’s make the changes together!” offered an intensive programme designed to impart knowledge and skills, in the field of prison education, to 110 conference participants from 28 countries. The four keynote speeches focused on different aspects of the prison education developments. The twelve parallel workshops, organized in three rounds, included examination of best practice cases; methodical presentations by international workshop leader teams; discussions – that provided the opportunity for participants to seriously address issues relating to their own work and experiences. In addition were printed and distributed the written presentations of some colleagues who didn’t have the opportunity to lead a workshop. You find in this report abstracts of their presentations (Individual Contributions). The full texts you can obtain by contacting .

Once meeting the challenge to throw light upon the “Challenges for European Prison Education”, the Conference Organizing Committee together with the EPEA Steering Committee went two steps further. The 10th EPEA Conference enjoyed the valuable support of the Council of Europe and the European Commission – two facts which made the anniversary EPEA Conference a unique event.

The Council of Europe launched throughout Europe a campaign to popularise and put into practice the education for democratic citizenship policies. Since the EPEA has a participatory status with the Council of Europe, and having the courage of the own EPEA’s convictions that it is teachers and educators who translate concepts and policies into reality in their dayly work in prisons, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe granted his patronage to the 10th EPEA Conference. The significance of being approved for patronage lies in official recognition at the highest level of the CoE that the aims of the EPEA and the 10th EPEA Conference fully meet the objectives of the CoE and comply with the ideals of its legislation. We have been really honoured to organize the conference under the patronage of the Council of Europe in the European Year of Citizenship through Education.

The second significant fact what differs the 10th EPEA Conference from the other conferences was the innovative way supporting the conference participants. Looking for ways how to bring together all the EPEA Liaison and Contact Persons at the conference, and having in mind that most of them are ordinary teachers who often meet difficulties in getting a financial support, we decided to request the European Commission for funding. The EPEA Branches in Norway and Ireland together with the Bulgarian NGO “Society for European Educational Cooperation” made a successful project under the Socrates Program, Accompanying Meagures Action. The ICCEPE Project made it possible to offer a full support to 26 conference participants. Further ten participants got a partly support. The challenges the Organizing Committee faced couldn’t be met without the financial support of the European Commission. The builded relationships among the project participants are increasing the power of the European cooperation within the ambitious project aim to maintain a collection of all European projects supported by EU programs and concerning the prison education. A project website was established already . The Project Report will be send to all EPEA members in March 2006. Your comments on the experiences you gained in project work will be a highly appreciated contribution to the project; the prison education; and the European cooperation in this field.

The Conference Program was carefully structured to offer an intensive professional input, networking opportunities, prison visits and a programme of social activities, providing an experience that is both professionally and personally rewarding. Informal networking over coffee, lunch and dinner or in the evenings is an essential part of each EPEA Conference. Many contacts and friendships have developed, giving the opportunity to compare the situation in the own country with other countries in Europe and around the world; to exchange experiences and learn about good practices that exist. The great moments of friendly togetherness are often cited as one of the major benefits of attending the EPEA Conferences.

The conference location at the Boyana States President’s Residence provided every necessary facility and device for both: work and comfort. Without doubt the staff in the Residence gave us the full VIP treatment in the days and nights of the conference.

We thank all participants for their support and contributions. We thank once again the Ministry of Justice, Bulgaria and the EPEA Steering Committee for giving us respect and support. We would like to thank Mr. Petar Vasilev, General Director, GD “Execution of Sentences” for his help and personal commitment to the EPEA Conference. We appreciate the encouragement and the support he often gave us.
Looking back at the 10th EPEA Conference today, we are satisfied with the way it happened! Looking forward we see ways for improvement! We believe that the 11th EPEA Conference in Ireland will do it!
Let’s not spare our efforts to meet the challenges, and let’s do it together!

The Conference Organizing Committee

Welcome address

Anton Stankov – Minister of Justice, Bulgaria

Dear Conference Delegates, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me express my satisfaction of the fact that Bulgaria is the host of the 10th Conference of the European Prison Education Association. I am glad to welcome delegates of this forum from so many countries.

You will debate strategic tasks and live questions of the prison education in order to meet the challenges of a common policy in this field. The EPEA sets itself goals and tasks, which are in accordance with the Recommendations on Prison Education of the Council of Europe, and promotes the professional development of people linked with the prison education through a European co-operation. In order to fulfil its goals, the Association convenes an international conference every two years. Today’s conference is the 10th one and will be hold under the heading “Challenges for European Prison Education – let’s make the changes together.” We are honoured to meet the challenge playing host of this forum on the threshold of the joining of Bulgaria to the European Union.

Education is a main factor for personal and social elaboration. Nearly all the countries over the world head their efforts for providing of elementary and functional literacy and qualitative basic education – prerequisites for achieving of continuity between the different educational stages and among the formal and informal systems for professional qualification, specialization and re-qualification. An important condition for raising the effectiveness of the adult education is a positive learning motivation to be created and an active social and personal attitude to be formed.

The comprehensive and vocational training which is performed in the prisons of the Republic of Bulgaria is an organized process. Schooling in prisons is one of the preconditions for successful socializing of a former prisoner. From a place for isolation, prisons turn into places for preparation of the deprived of freedom for their social re-integration.

The deprivation of freedom is hard enough experience with huge consequences for everybody who got into prison and that is why the work with the prisoners is directed toward activation, mobilizing and development of the individual features of the convicted, and of the social resources too, in order to assist them in their successful integration with the society and to live in a law-abiding way.

The illiteracy and the lack of working habits in some marginal and ethnic groups result in crime increase and turn the crime into a way of living and earlier individual choice of civic behaviour. Law-breakers are usually with a low vocational qualification, and many of them do not have it at all, which leads to inequality of opportunities at their looking for a job after having undergone the penalty. Literacy courses conducted in bilingual and trilingual groups; vocational courses and such courses for an educational degree are seen as ways to solve the problem.

The right on vocational training and education is one of the most important human rights, which is recorded in a number of international declarations, agreements and recommendations. Education and qualification advancement is among the priority prison activities as it contributes to the betterment of the prisoners’ social skills to cope; it has a healing effect, affects their motivation for success and enables the improvement of their way of living.

By heightening the quality of the social and educational activities and complying with the European standards, the Bulgarian penitentiary system makes efforts to set conditions for a humanitarian treatment of the prisoners.

Along with the vocational training and the literacy courses, correction programs are realized to foster the personal development and the social competence of the prisoners.

In the modern society, the non government organizations are partners in the process of achieving the purposes of the penalty, and participate more and more active in this process. The integration between the strength of the state institutions and this of the non government organizations sets preconditions for an individual maturation and forming of a positive civil behaviour of the prisoners. Economically, and with respect of the former prisoners re-socializing, and in order to ensure employment of the prisoners within the period of the penalty and after it, it is much more effective to invest resources and professional skills into educational and qualification activities.

I am convinced that countries that invest in prison education and vocational training go a right way and their efforts will be rewarded,

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you success and a fruitful work on the 10th International Conference of the European Prison Education Association! Have a good conference! Enjoy it too!

Thank You!

Niek Willems, The Netherland, EPEA Chairperson

our Excellency the Minister of Justice,
Deputy Minister of Justice,
Ladies representing the Council of Europe,
General Director “Execution of Sentences”, Bulgaria,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is e great pleasure to stand here as Chairperson of the European Prison Education Association, and to welcome all of you to the 10th EPEA Conference on prison education at the Boyana Residence in Sofia.

It was over a year ago that I had the pleasure of meeting the General Director of “Execution of Sentences” of the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, Mr. Petar Vasilev, in Malta. We were both attending an EPEA project meeting there. Over a cup of coffee I asked Mr. Vasilev if it would be at all possible and feasible to organize the 10th EPEA Conference in Sofia? The two previous conferences of 2001 and 2003 had been held in Noordqijkerhout, Holland, and in Langesund, Norway. The Steering Committee expressed its wishes to have the conference of 2005 in an Eastern European country.

Mr. Vasilev promised me to look into this, with the Minister of Justice and his own staff, and I was happy to receive a positive reply from him.

An Organizing Committeee was formed, chaired by our valued Steering Committee Member Valentina Petrova. Furthermore the Organizing Committeee consisted of Ms Liliana Alexandrova, Ms Desislava Simeonova, Mr Kostantin Kostantinov, Mr Dimitar Momchev and myself. Mr Momchev went on pension after our second meeting, and his place on the Committee was taken by Ms Valentina Karaganova. The Organizing Committeee had 5 meetings during the last, and this year in Sofia.

I would like to express my respect for the way the meetings were held, and for the fact that the members gave their free weekends to get together.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For the first time you could read in the correspondence sent to you, the sentence: “the Conference is under the auspies of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Terry Davis”. We are very proud having obtained this patronage, and it strengthens our believe that the contents of the conference are approved and appreciated by the Council of Europe.

During the latest session of the Organizing Committee, we were able to witness on television the signing in Luxemburg of the papers that would bring Bulgaria the membership of the European Union in 2007.

If you take a close look at our conference logo, you will find the flag of the European Union, together with the flag of Bulgaria, embedded insite an educational book. Organizing our conference in Sofia, means putting Bulgaria on the map where it concerns prison education. When we will have our prison visits next Friday, we hope you will notice what has been achieved in the field of prison education in Bulgaria until now, and I am sure much more improvement on this specific field of education will be made in the future.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you have looked at your program you will have noticed that we have a very busy schedule lined up for you. Besides from offering keynote speeches, workshops, meetings and what have you, we have also made ample room for social events.

And, of course, the lovely Boyana Residence is an invitation in itself to make this 10th EPEA Conference “Challenges for European Prison Education – lets make the changes together” a huge success.

And last but not least, the EPEA wishes to extend its gratitude for the cooperation of the Bulgarian Ministries of Justice and Education, for making at all happening!

Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the EPEA Steering Committee and the Organizing Committee I wish you all a very fruitful and enjoyable conference!

Thank you!

Prof. Emilia Drumeva Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Council of Europe, Constitutional Court, Bulgaria

It is a honor and a very positive experience for me to attend this forum, and to address the 10th EPEA Conference participants on behalf of the Council of Europe, and more precisely – on behalf of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture /CPT/.

The CPT belongs to the core of the Human Rights Protection which represents the fundamental rail in the CoE activities. The CPT is functioning in this framework, based also on a convention about the Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The convention empowers the CPT as international committee to visit all places where persons are deprived of their liberty by a public authority. The CPT is composed by independent experts, one of each member-state. Today, 45 member states of the CoE have ratified the ECPrT.

The CPT works “in the field”, organising visits to each member country.The CPT makes recommendations and suggests improvements in order to strengthen, if necessary, the protection of the persons visited, from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. The CPT is preventive, non-judicial machinery. It represents an important addition to the system of protection, already existing under the ECHR. At the heart of its work is the principle of co-operation with national authorities.

Prisons are the main object of our inspections. Education is always among the priorities, not for juveniles only, but for the whole penitentiary population. “In the field” the CPT counts on administrators, educators and teachers with a full respect for their work.

So addressing all the participants I express on behalf of the CoE and the CPT included, the view which is a conviction that the 10th EPEA Conference on Prison Education “Challenges for European Prison Education – Lets make the changes together”, contributes substantially to the fulfilling the universal values of the human rights, for which achievement the good efforts and high professionalism of the EPEA members represent a real guarantee.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me wish you all, on behalf of the Council of Europe, a very fruitful and enjoyable conference!

Thank you!

Ljubov Draganova Culture and Education Department, Council of Europe Ministry of education, Bulgaria

inister, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Participants,

It is a great pleasure for me to address this conference today on behalf of the Council of Europe. I wish to thank the Ministry of Justice and the European Prison Education Association very warmly for having organized this conference, which will allow us to share good practices, and to strengthen European co-operation in the field of prison education.

First of all, allow me to put the subject of our discussion into a somewhat broader perspective. Education – both formal and non-formal, in a life-long learning perspective – plays a fundamental role in the development of the individual. In particular, education for democratic citizenship and human rights can help develop critical thinking and skills to live together. It promotes a sense of belonging to, and an awareness of the Council of Europe’s values and principles of freedom, political pluralism, human rights and the rule of law. Such education means mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue, solidarity, gender equality and harmonious relations within and among peoples. It is somewhat symbolic that this year 2005 – declared as the European Year of Citizenship through Education by the Council of Europe – was launched here, in Sofia, just five months earlier. The aim of the “Year” is to draw attention to how crucial education is to the development of active citizenship and in fostering democratic culture. Schools, public authorities, civil society, media and family – all have got an important role to play in this respect. But, what about prisons? Do education, citizenship and democracy stop at their gates?

Let us recall that the Recommendation No R(89)12 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers provides a clear political framework for strengthening prison education. In particular, it points out that “a high proportion of prisoners have little successful educational experience, and therefore the prisoners have high educational needs”. The Recommendation recalls that the right to education is fundamental, and that education plays an important role in the development of both the individual and the community as a whole. It underlines that “education in prison is an important way of facilitating the return of the prisoner to the community”. This text also provides some practical guidance on prison education. For example, it recommends that all those involved in the administration of a prison system should facilitate and support prison education; it suggests that the outside community should be involved as fully as possible and that, wherever possible, prisoners should participate in education outside prison; it stresses the importance of making available the funds, equipment and teaching staff needed to enable prisoners to receive appropriate education. It is clear that successful prison education depends on the good will, professionalism and commitment of many people – and we are here today to discuss how they can be supported in this important, but not always easy work.

In conclusion, I would like to add a few words about the Council of Europe and its project on Education for Democratic Citizenship. The Council is the oldest European organisation, founded in 1949. Its pioneering work on education and culture over the last 50 years, based on the European Cultural Convention, aims at preserving the heritage and values that people in Europe have in common, at celebrating cultural diversity, fostering solidarity and social cohesion. Summarizing the key priorities of the CoE, I would interpret them in this way: to instill a democratic culture in the hearts and minds of the European citizens. The need for education for democratic citizenship and human rights was already emphasized by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at their 2nd Summit in Strasbourg in 1997. Since then, the EDC project has identified the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for young people and adults to become active citizens. Guidelines for policy development, strategies for teacher training and for democratic school governance, have been devised and disseminated. Most of Europe’s governments have realized the importance of this project and 2005, the European Year of Citizenship through Education, is a perfect opportunity to put EDC policies into practice. Information on the wealth of successful programmes already implemented is being exchanged. New ones are being prepared. I am pleased to tell you that almost all member states are actively participating in the “Year” through a wide range of activities, from national information conferences to innovative youth events. I believe that the questions raised, and the experience shared in the framework of the “Year”, are equally relevant for those involved in education in prison. I would therefore encourage you to get involved, either at national or European level, so that the wealth of your experience can contribute to this project, and so that your perspective can be taken into account in the future plans of the Council of Europe in the field of education.

I hope that this conference will be a fruitful and inspiring event, and I wish you a lot of success in your very important work.

Thank you.

Keynote Address 1 – Flexibility in Prison Teaching – practices and tendencies

Keynote Address 2 – European Educational Programs, Prison Projects

Keynote Address 3 – Lifelong Learning: what makes the good teacher?

Keynote Address 4 – Vocational Training and Qualification – a chance for a better future

Closing words

Anne Costelloe
was chairing the last day of the conference. She concluded that the conference had been very successful. Anne Costelloe, that will become Deputy Chairperson of the EPEA by July 1, 2005, gave the word to the Chairperson Niek Willems to formally close the conference:

Chairperson Niek Willems
“I can look back at an excellent conference. It was highly successful. […] It is very seldom that we can announce the next conference at a conference, but today I am happy to say that it is not certain, but most likely, that the 11th EPEA conference in 2007 will be held in Republic of Ireland in cooperation with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We are looking forward seeing you there”