24-25th January 2017 (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)
On the 24th and 25th of January, the launching seminar of the CALYPSOS project took place on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). The initiative, “CALYPSOS, Support for social inclusion, the specific needs of educational support and the improvement of basic skills for prisoners in Europe”, is part of the 2016 call for the Erasmus + programme. In this context, Calypsos is a strategic partnership for development and innovation with partners from three countries: Spain, Italy and Portugal.
Nine European entities are participating in the project, including Universidad de La Laguna (Spain), Universidad de Almeria (Spain), Universidade Do Minho from Braga (Portugal), and Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italy), in addition to the Spanish General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions, through the Tenerife Penitentiary Centre, and three NGOs, such as Plena Inclusion Canarias (Spain), ADIS Meridianos from Seville (Spain) and Istituto degli Innocenti from Florence (Italy).
The ninth, the Adult Education Centre (CEPA) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife participates as a coordinating body in the project, whose main objective is to propose a strategy of socio-educational intervention to the European regional and national institutions responsible for education in penitentiary centres, which contemplates innovative learning situations that allow the increase of school success rates among prisoners.
CALYPSOS seeks to engage professionals linked to prison education in EU countries, through activities of high impact and visibility, in order to increase this school success rate between inmates and to facilitate their social and labour reintegration.
Another innovative factor of the project is the integration of scientific research in neuroscience with research, educational action to produce outputs that, on the one hand, give a solid scientific validity to the arguments used and, on the other hand, offer alternatives to stakeholders linked to prison education to improve school success.
A priority is to give visibility to the project and transfer it to other European countries to achieve the greatest impact and dissemination of its results. To this end, it is necessary to raise awareness and commitment to those responsible for educational intervention in EU countries penitentiaries.
The beneficiary groups to which the CALYPSOS points out are inmates in European prisons who are being trained to obtain a Basic Secondary Education degree. In this group, special attention is given to female inmates and young people with juvenile justice measures, thus taking into account the equality policies established by the EU. Other group to which the project focusses are teachers, educational agents, professionals and technicians of penitentiary institutions, who support train and guide inmates in European penitentiaries so that they can obtain a degree that allows them to an easier reintegration. The third group are regional, national and community institutions that have responsibilities in the training and education of the prison population. These institutions have shown their interest and commitment to the objectives set, fact that facilitates the implementation of the Calypsos strategic partnership.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Universities of the Government of the Canary Islands, Juan Manuel Santana Pérez, was the one in charge of the seminar official opening.
In his speech, he underscored the importance of the CALYPSOS project, "which has been endorsed by the large number of participating partners”. In particular, said Juan Manuel Santana, "this project that we present today and that we strongly support from the Government of the Canary Islands, will facilitate reinsertion of inmates in the labour market, from an experimental and scientific knowledge, with innovative educational strategies that have applicability." However, he added, "the project implies a necessary innovation in the postulates about prison education, insofar as it considers it a further facet of education in diversity and the fight against discrimination and segregation of inmates."
The Vice-rector of Internationalization  of the Universidad de La Laguna, María del Carmen Rubio Armendáriz, for her part, said that for the academic institution it is "a pride to participate in a collaborative project that will benefit both the prison population, teachers and institutions, because the more multidisciplinary teams there are, the more enriching the results will be."
The director of the Penitentiary Establishment of Tenerife, Juan José Martínez Alonso, stressed that the purpose of the Penitentiary Administration "is not only custody and retention of prisoners but also their social reintegration, which is why education is a primary tool ".
The project will be developed over the next two years, during which the contact between the partners will be constant, including semi-annual transnational meetings in Rome, Almería and Braga. The culmination of the work will be a multiplier event, which is expected to be held in Brussels (Belgium) in October 2018.
As a result of the project, a document entitled "Orientations and strategies for intervention and socio- educational innovation to increase school success rates among prisoners in EU countries" is expected.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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