In Malta, the focus of the penal philosophy is punitive, hence is based on incarceration. Through the more recent philosophy of Restorative Justice, it is not merely enough to be sending individuals to prison, but to rehabilitate them, and give them the skills and tools to not engage in further offending. The idea behind the project offered by our organisation emphasizes that such a development should be based within the community, in order to prepare prisoners for the transition from prison to the community more effectively, and successfully.
Rehabilitation in Society is a non-prison rehabilitation service that prisoners can access voluntarily through a formal referral from the Inmates Service Office of the Correctional Services Agency. The aim of rehabilitation in society is to provide offenders with adequate rehabilitation services, direction, and surveillance in order to fully reintegrate oneself within the community. The program we provide aims at reducing recidivism though providing rehabilitation services for prisoners who are serving the last part of their prison sentence.
The eligible individuals are:
Corradino Correctional Division prisoners who are completing the last phase of their sentence (12 months prior to the date of release)
Prisoners who would be eligible for Parole license throughout the course of the programme
The project is being implemented since in Malta, attention to the need of rehabilitation and reintegration after incarceration was lacking, especially in the context of community-based programs. In fact, this project is the only project in the country which targets rehabilitation and reintegration into society after incarceration!
HISTORY OF RISE FOUNDATION
RISe Foundation was founded on the 3rd of June 2013, by Fr. Franco Fenech O.F.M. Cap, a Capuchin friar and Mr. Charlie Mifsud. This service was set in collaboration with Exodus, a Dutch program with over 30 years of experience in dealing with reintegration of offenders within society.
This service was set up with the collaboration of various entities and associates. Major support was received through the Malta President Community Chest Fund, the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity, and the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs.
Our community based offender reintegration program was launched in April 2016, and eligible candidates started to be referred from the State Prison. Before the project was in place, there were no other opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration within society, hence those individuals who would have finished their sentence would have had no preparation for the transition, and would often ended up on the street figuring out how to fend for themselves, especially those who have no one to support them within the community.
Today, the Foundation collaborates directly with the State Prison in order to target those prisoners who are eligible for the program and would benefit it the most.
The Foundation organised meetings with many organisations, governmental entities and non-profit organisations, to ensure best provision of care is delivered for our service users, as well as to ensure a wide range of risks and needs are covered effectively to facilitate a smoother and more successful reintegration process. Our organisation conducts continuous consultations with the following entities:
Directorate for Life Long Learning - The Directorate for Research, Lifelong Learning and Employability within the Ministry for Education and Employment is led by a vision that learning should be a lifelong journey for everyone. The Directorate provides Health and Safety courses for RISe residents to acquire skills that are relevant to their lives, their needs and their work.
Jobslus - Through a pre-employment skills programme, Jobsplus supports RISe residents to acquire and/or upgrade their skills to enhance their employability prospects. Given that RISe programme is a residential based programme, both First Aid and Food Handling courses are also provided by Jobsplus.
Primary HealthCare Malta - The Primary HealthCare Malta organises general information talks on how to access the public health services and the importance of engaging in self-care such as Mental Health Awareness, Foot Care, Maintaining a Healthy Weigh, etc.
Sedqa - Sedqa, through its Prevention Services at RISe Foundation, offers training programmes to RISe residents which enhance healthy lifestyles, develop and nurture personal skills that will eventually contribute to the prevention of developing addictive behaviours.
Social Security Department - The Social Security Department organises general information talks on all available social security benefits which may help RISe residents help to maintain their basic wellbeing and how to access such information and support.
Heritage Malta - Heritage Malta provides RISe Foundation free access to cultural heritage sites as a means to promote healthy and positive activities.
Transport Malta - Transport Malta directs and supports RISe Foundation so that RISe residents may formally regularize themselves with the Authority for Transport in Malta Act.
Armed Forces of Malta - The Armed Forces of Malta organizes Team Building sessions to RISe Foundation staff member and residents to improve the concept of communication in practice.
Foreign Consultations - Exodus Rotterdam
In 2012, Mr.Charlie Mifsud and Fr.Franco Fenech OFM Cap, visited the Exodus organisation, which holds more than 30 years experience in providing rehabilitative services for prisoners. This visit was supported by the then President of the Republic of Malta, His Excellency Dr. George Abela, who has also expressed the need of a residential programme based on the re-integration of offenders in society, since recidivism in Malta is one of the highest in European Countries.
In 2013, after several meetings and agreements with Maltese organisations and Government representatives and with the support of Exodus South Holland, RISe Foundation was founded by Mr.Charlie Mifsud and Fr.Franco Fenech.
In 2015 the first residential home of RISe Foundation, named after Sr.Maria Adele Baldacchino, member of the Sisters of Charity, who has been giving service in prison since 1992, was officially opened. Mr.Fred De Lege was invited for this event in order to represent the Exodus organisation and be a visible sign of the bond between the two entities.
In 2016, the first group of detainees were given permission by the Maltese Prison Authorities and the Minister of National Security Honor.Carmelo Abela, to start a rehabilitation process within the Foundation.
Since the very beginning, collaboration between the Exodus Organisation and RISe Foundation was ongoing, and there were more visits from RISe representatives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in order to seek knowledge and experience to set up and put the programme in practice.