Preparation for release

Our goal is to help people in prison to prepare for release.  During the pre-release phase we help to motivate prisoners prior to their release so they can reintegrate better into the community. We start work with prisoners who have 6-9 months left to complete the sentence. We help them to prepare a plan that focuses on housing, employment, training and managing their finances and their debts.

All prisons provide job opportunities for some prisoners. RUBIKON Centrum runs a workshop in Vinařice Prison. This prison-employment allows them to save towards their costs of living after release. It also helps them to develop important social skills necessary to sustain employment outside prison.

One of the RUBIKON Centrum clients shared with us:

“Some prisoners went to work just to be able to buy cigarettes. I, on the other hand, appreciated the opportunity teach myself some work habits. It makes you get up on time and sort of improves your time management capabilities.” – Jana

Help and Support after Release

Before our clients are released, we will have helped them prepare a plan covering all the key areas of their new life on the outside. We try to build on their previous experience and address potential risks and obstacles that they might face.

We pay extra attention in making sure that clients have a realistic idea of what lies ahead. This allows them to organize their first steps more thoroughly. We also help with transport arrangements from the prison, employment opportunities, debt repayment, communication with authorities and contacting relatives – these are some of many possible difficulties we can help with.

One of the RUBIKON Centrum clients shared with us:

“Whenever you leave the prison, there is a stigma burdening you. Having a criminal record doesn’t make it easy to find a job. What’s more, the money you made in prison is not great either, so your chances of starting over are abysmal. I was able to cope with 1100 CZK (45 EUR) a month during my stay in prison and I worked for the duration. But after release I could not pay my rent. It is incredibly difficult to stand on your own two feet. No wonder so many people return to prison shortly after.”  – Hana

As well as problems relating to finances, employment, housing, debts, and addictions – our clients often seek our help in dealing with other profound changes in their lives such as relationships, guilt, failure and their sense of identity. Successful working on the first practical problems often forms a good basis for working together on these more complex issues.

RUBIKON Centrum clients shared with us:

“Finding a job is so important that it drives you to finally make that major change, especially if you have the will to pull it off”Milan

“Yes, I could have turned to crime again and make good money, but I did not want to. When I don’t have a busy day, I start having these silly ideas. I’ve already lost so much time and have so much to catch up on. I got to work, finish learning to drive, lead an orderly life with my daughter…you name it” – Dominika

After release, the clients are offered work opportunities and training. In addition to counselling to and support their wellbeing, they are also given essential support. We provide access to food banks, housing benefits and traveling expenses. Training is particularly useful as part of the re-integration process. We find that teaching clients practical working habits and skills result in significant increases in self-esteem and social competence.

One of the RUBIKON Centrum clients shared with us:

“I feel as if my past crimes stand out a mile so everyone can see it. I did drugs and robberies – I was so irresponsible. I don’t want to be like that anymore. I’ve changed. And yet, others still look down their noses at me. I’m so glad my family and girlfriend support me not matter what.  That is so crucial.” – Michal

Trends at RUBIKON Centrum

The number of female clients is growing steadily – 27% of RUBIKON clients in 2021 were female. That is significantly more compared to the overall representation of female prisoners (8.3%) in the Czech Republic. The number of clients successfully applying for a resolution of major problematic debt has also risen.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we began using online and telephone counselling on a regular basis. We have evidence that this has resulted in an increase of self-esteem and social competence for all clients, which is surprising but reassuring.

An increasing number of RUBIKON clients have complex needs, with many of them being unable to take up day to day employment without careful preparatory work with them.