Gymnasium & Lyceum in the Avlona Prison for Young Offenders

The Gymnasium and Lyceum in the Avlona Prison for Young Offenders, is a secondary education school unit that has a unique character in Prison Education. The overall aim is to provide secondary level education to juvenile and young prisoners– following full curriculum courses, in both gymnasium and lyceum level. In addition, prisoners have the opportunity to participate in the National Exams, having access to University Studies. Moreover, to make sure that education within prisons keeps track with education on the outside.

Secondary aims:

  • Involving prisoners to extra curriculum activities of various subjects (art, music, theater, science etc), aiming at their cultural and social integration.
  • Promote equal opportunities between multi-cultural groups.
  • Limit recidivism.
  • On a psychological level, our aim is to exploit their skills in order to encourage them, strengthen their self – esteem and regain their self-confidence.
  • Prepare students for e-citizenship keeping track with ICT cutting-edge technology.
  • Widen their perspectives, develop cooperative skills, communicate and help them to express themselves.

The school is an autonomous school unit like any other in Greece providing full curriculum courses.

There are approximately 200 students (attending courses is not mandatory but the system of justice reduces their penalty time).

The school employs 14 teachers. Only few of them are permanently employed in the educational system. The rest of the teachers are working on temporary (contract) bases.

The school has developed over the past few years a rich extra-curriculum activity involving art, music, dance, athletics and theatrical performances. The 35 hour a week curriculum, plus tutoring teaching is enriched with several cultural activities projects, approved by the Regional Education Directorate. These activities are materialized by school teachers fully employed in the Unit. All projects, including Music, Dance and Theatre are undertaken by specialized or not specialized school teachers. The activities schedule consists of 2 to 3 hours on weekly basis throughout the school year. Furthermore, it has published nine issues of its newspaper and a magazine through the years.


Irish Prison Service

The organization employs teachers of all subjects to teach in a vocational education capacity. Some of the teachers teach in prisons throughout the 13 prisons in Ireland, these teachers are part of the Prison Education Service which involves a partnership between the E.T.B.’s (Educational and Training Boards) and the Irish Prison Service. Each prison has an Education Centre and the Learners are from all different social backgrounds. Many are from disadvantaged backgrounds with little or no literacy skills. In recent years there are many Learners from foreign countries, with language issues. Many have come from violent and broken homes with a history of drug and alcohol abuse.

The Arts Programme in Ireland is striking in terms of both its broad range and depth. The large number of creative teachers, of art, music, writing, drama and the involvement in the writers in Prison Scheme and Visual Artists in Prison Scheme are reflected in the quality and diversity of the courses and art activities available in Irish prisons.

There is still a significant area that is not being explored and that I believe is the area where the arts are seen as ‘subjects just to pass the time’ while in prison and we would like to learn how some of our European colleagues are approaching this, especially through the PEETA programme, which aims at learning skills through art education. The Dutch and the Portuguese partners have experience with this programme.

Northern Ireland

Educational Shakespeare Company

ESC is a Belfast-based film-making and arts education charity established in 1999 that provides non-clinical creative arts interventions within the following social contexts: criminal justice, mental health, educational disadvantage often attributed to behavioural problems, drug and alcohol abuse and literacy problems. ESC works with extremely marginalized and/or socially excluded people, with a particular emphasis on prisoners, ex-offenders and those with mental health issues. ESC’s aim is to enable people to understand and transform their own lives, using drama and film to encourage people to explore and record their own stories. ESC’s role in this project is to share this unique learning with other partner organisations.

ESC’s work has been recognized on a national and local level. In 2011, ESC’s Artistic Director Tom Magill received a Justice in the Community Award from the Justice Minister David Ford, for outstanding services to the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. ESC has worked in the criminal justice sector for over 10 years, both inside and outside prison. Tom Magill worked for 5 years in Maghaberry maximum-security prison, running drama and filmmaking workshops with prisoners, many of whom were on a basic regime and did not engage in prison work or education. Previously, he had also worked on a NI Arts Council funded project in the Maze prison which resulted in the creation of a prison theatre production of Bobby Sands’ epic poem The Crime of Castlereagh.

ESC has been working with Community and Forensic Mental Health patients on a three-year film-making project called Second Chance for Change: Including the Excluded. (2010-2013). This project challenges offenders’ attitudes to themselves, their histories, their offending behaviour and has already been proven to change individuals attitudes, reduce reoffending and greatly improve the mental health of participants.

ESC has produced a world first – Mickey B, ESC’s feature film adaptation of Macbeth, which won the 2008 Roger Graef Award for Outstanding Achievement in film at the national Arthur Koestler awards. This film has gone on to be screened internationally at film festivals and conferences and has been translated into five languages. Tom Magill is currently preparing a follow up feature film adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, to be filmed with ex-prisoners at the Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast which is now a cultural museum.

The Netherlands

PI Vught

PI Vught has a long tradition in Art Education, for 38 years there have been art classes and for the same period we have been building a collection of ‘outsider art’. Several teachers have knowledge of recent developments like learning skills through the arts.

PI Vught is a large prison where different types of prisoners are staying, for example; psychiatric patients, ISD and long stay.

We offer music and art classes.

Vught would like to participate to learn how different types of artistic media can work. Also to see how other teachers embed art and what goals they have and can achieve with the prisoners. We have a tradition with painting which is very often an individual process and we are interested in learning from others more about working with groups, using theatre as an art form.

The Netherlands

Young in Prison

Young in Prison is an organisation working with young people (aged 14 – 25) at risk and in prison. Our local partners in South-Africa, Malawi and Colombia provide our target group with creative education as a means to develop life skills and employability skills. Through these project the chance of positively reintegrating back into society increases. As of 2013 we begin to work in Europe, starting with the Netherlands.

It is very important and interesting for us to take part in this learning partnership, because we still have a lot to learn from the European context on creative education in prisons. Our experience lies in developing countries so we can learn a lot from the different European partners. On top of this we find it important for us to participate in this partnership, because creative education in prison is still a niche and therefore there are no structured or official ways to interchange best practices about this. This learning partnership will give us the opportunity to get to know different best practices which in turn can improve our programmes in the Netherlands.


Plockie Centrum Edukacyjne

Plockie Centrum Edukacyjne (PCE) is a company that provides educational services to people of different age, background, abilities etc. The main field of the educational activity is language teaching. The company is also very active in other areas and institutions. One of these institutions is a prison in Plock.. PCE has been cooperating with the Penal Unit in Plock for a few years now, providing several courses both for the prison staff and the inmates.

Similarily to all participating organizations involved in this project, PCE together with the Plock prison is very active in the field of working with disadvantaged groups. We are actively engaged in the process of teaching people who are socially excluded. Many of them are older learners, up to 64 years of age.

Because of the fact that financing scheme in the Polish prison system was changed in 2012 (when talking about EU funding), it is very difficult to use Grundtvig funding in prisons. For this project PCE and the prison will create a consortium whose crucial aim is taking part in the Grundtvig Partnership Project.  That is why PCE is going to apply for the grant and an agreement is going to be signed between PCE and the Head of the Prison, so that the final beneficiaries of all of the activities could be inmates in the Plock prison. The participants of the project will be two groups of inmates: prison school students and inmates who are stationed in a Therapy Department within the prison.

Inmates who serve their sentence in the Therapy Unit are the ones who have mental problems; some of them have non-psychotic mental disorder. The idea of the project is directly connected with the fact that these inmates are already involved in Grundtvig project activities (an on-going project EduArts introduced in the prison in 2011) and the idea has proved to be a huge success. The need for such undertakings is also very huge. That is why there came another idea of prolonging the activities during which inmates could have more opportunities to be involved in similar doings. We want them to be able to have a wider range of activities provided and organised. Project “Learning through the arts in prison” seems to be a great opportunity to fulfil the needs mentioned above.

Unfortunately, financing regime within Polish prisons is not an encouraging one. Nevertheless, thanks to the fact that the head of the Prison in Plock is open to any ideas, PCE is able to provide activities that are needed and beneficial.



PELE is an artistic structure and non-profit organization, based in Porto, Portugal. Since its creation in 2007 it develops artistic projects with communities, guided by the principle of putting people in the center of artistic co-operations in order to promote individual and collective empowerment processes through artistic projects.

The PELE Association is active on four different levels:

1) The social and educational level: promoting social integration through art. Developing intervention projects in different contexts (social housing, childcare, youth centres and prisons) and with different social groups (unemployed people, recipients of social income, the deaf community, the elderly, industry workers, and young people at risk, among others).

2) The artistic level: production and support of art creations by the Association but also by emerging projects and local communities.

3) The training level: trainings and workshops directed towards the general public and professionals active in diverse areas, such as education, human sciences, social development and arts.

4) The Theatre of the Oppressed Oporto Nucleus, working with this specific methodology, the aim is to disseminate the methodology, create autonomous Theatre of the Oppressed Groups and seek forward concrete changing actions.

PELE has worked with over 500 people from different territories, has trained about 150 social workers and artists, and has reached approximately 8000 people with its various projects.

The Association uses theatre of the oppressed to provide a unique space for expression, open to a wide range of people, whose involvement allows for the investigation of individual and collective power. This process induces an activation of critical awareness and stimulation towards civic participation and the collective seeking of solutions. The shared artistic method offers people a chance to rediscover their narratives, re-write them or even find other forms of language, thus becoming active participants in their own change process.

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