In Athens the second Learning, Teaching and Training Activities of the SPIRITS project

Interesting, participatory and engaging, despite a rather particular organization caused by the health emergency still underway. This is how the second LTTA – Learning, Teaching & Training Activities- dedicated to the European project SPIRITS can be summarized, which saw at the forefront the involvement of the UISP Committee Ciriè Settimo Chivasso – which plays the role of Leader – in the people of the Director Roberto Rinaldi and of the member of the Communication Group Giada Rapa. Alongside them, since the project in question focuses on the training tools to be given to operators who carry out voluntary work in prisons, two representatives of the Alessandria-Asti UISP Committee: the vice president Mara Scagni and the Deputy Commissioner Prosecutor Giulio Romeo, deputy head of the Penitentiary Police of Alessandria. In this sense, the collaboration with the Alexandrian Committee, present within the San Michele Prison House and the “Cantiello e Gaeta” Prison for 22 years, is fundamental.

The meeting, which took place in Greece – to be precise in Athens – from 14 to 16 July, offered numerous opportunities for discussion on the subject of prisons and the judicial system in the various realities involved – Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Romania – through a mixed system of people in presence and others connected via Zoom. The focal point of this second training meeting – which followed the one held in Bulgaria from 9 to 12 April with also the visit of the Stara Zagora prison – was the use of sports practice not only as a means of emancipation for the inmates, but also as a tool for social rehabilitation. During the first day, Director Rinaldi recalled the main objectives of the SPIRITS project, underlining how the problem of the presence of the prison population is a phenomenon that affects the whole of Europe and not just a single state. “By now the evidence of both physical and psychological beneficial effects of sporting activity has been demonstrated on several occasions, so we firmly believe that, even in the absence of specific data, sport can bring beneficial effects to those residing in detention facilities” Rinaldi highlighted. In this sense the testimony of Mara Scagni is very precious, who boasts a decade of experience not only in the prisons of Alexandria, but also in those of Madagascar, Palestine and Russia. Scagni also reported the experience, emotions and feelings of one of the operators of the UISP Alessandria Committee, Davide Cerruti, highlighting a very widespread attitude among those who work in prisons, namely that of prejudice.

During the 3 days of training, this issue was also widely debated, recalling several times how often ex-prisoners find it difficult to reintegrate into society and find a job precisely because of preconceptions and little information. In this sense, the experience of UISP Alessandria was once again important, which for years has been offering inmates to take the course for referees. “It is a very popular course, which is also liked by the Prisons Management, because it requires you to respect the rules for yourself and for others. At the end we give them the uniform, the whistle and the certificate. Many started, once they left, to earn something thanks to their work as referees in our Championships ”explained Mara Scagni again. A further confirmation of the role of sport, both inside and outside prisons.