L-R: Sam Tanson, Luxembourg's Minister of Justice; Corinne Cahen, Minister for Family Affairs, Integration & the Greater Region; Credit: MFAMIGR

On Tuesday, Luxembourg's Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, and the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, presented a new reintegraion programme for former prisoners.

The transition from prison back into society is often very complex. For those concerned, leaving prison is accompanied by a large number of hardships, whether it be the re-establishment of family, friends and social ties, the search for employment or accommodation. Despite the efforts of the SPSE and SCAS assistance services, several former prisoners find it difficult to reintegrate into society.

On 27 October 2021, ministers Sam Tanson and Corinne Cahen presented a programme for the transition between prison and life in society which will be set up to help people in social distress and who demonstrate a certain motivation to improve their personal situation. Since the objective of the programme is to facilitate the reintegration of former prisoners, it is intended exclusively for people with a right of residence in Luxembourg. In view of the data collected in recent years, it is estimated that this could apply to between 50 and 80 people per year.

The programme includes three successive phases:

  1. Emergency accommodation (max. 7 days): If an individual does not have a place to stay upon their release from prison, they can be put in direct contact with a liaison officer specialising in the issue of imprisonment and social support. The individual is then assigned a place in an emergency accommodation structure, where they can stay there for a maximum of seven days. From the first day, the liaison officer is committed to finding medium-term accommodation for the individual in question. During the first week, the liaison officer also undertakes to help the individual with all the necessary administrative procedures. This first step is entirely the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and the liaison officers are under the supervision of this ministry.
  2. Medium-term accommodation (max. 6 months): The link to a medium-term accommodation structure can be made either from Schrassig Prison (Centre pénitentiaire de Luxembourg - CPL) or Givenich Prison (Centre pénitentiaire de Givenich - CPG) for prisoners sentenced without a housing situation or during the first seven days of an emergency accommodation situation (e.g. for an individual released from preventive detention). Medium-term accommodation, which cannot exceed a period of six months, is provided in existing accommodation structures managed by organisations (working in the social, family and therapeutic fields) approved by the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region. During these six months, the individual is supervised and accompanied individually by their liaison officer and socio-educational professionals.
  3. Empowerment: After this six-month period, the former prisoner can move into permanent housing. The pilot project is monitored by a steering group under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region; it is made up of representatives of the SCAS, the SPSE, social welfare offices, the National Social Inclusion Office (ONIS), the National Solidarity Fund (FNS), the criminal law and penitentiary department of the Ministry of Justice and of the solidarity division of the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region.

A supervisory unit made up of agents from SCAS, ONIS and SPSE, will ensure regular monitoring of supervised individuals and provide professionals with answers to questions that arise in the field.