In the Alessandria prisons for SPIRITS project

For a project that ends, one instead continues with excellent results. We are talking about SPIRITS, a project that addresses the training of operators who carry out voluntary work in detention facilities, in order to use sporting activity not only as a means of emancipation, but also of social redemption.

Our Committee, as Lead Partner, coordinates four European partners: the Association Sport For All Suceava from Romania, the Courage Foundation from Bulgaria, the Freedom Gate Greece from Greece – which already operates within detention facilities, but in a purely juvenile context – and the UISP Territorial Committee Alessandria. At this juncture, the collaboration and the precious experience of the Alexandrian Committee, which for about 20 years has been inside the two detention centers of the territory, the San Michele Imprisonment House and the Cantiello e Gaeta Prison District have been fundamental. During the past week, 8 representatives from each of the 3 European member associations participated in the first LTTA – Learning Teaching and Training Activity – which saw the presence of numerous experts working in the sector, from psychologists, to sports operators, passing through teachers of physical education to conclude with members of the Penitentiary Police. Important testimonies also from the Director of the two Penitentiary Institutes of Alessandria, Dr. Elena Lombardi Vallauri and the Chaplain of the Roman prison of Rebibbia, who brought their experience. Particularly touching was also the story of P. ex prisoner who after serving a sentence of 20 years in prison found work in a Social Cooperative thanks to the support of the UISP Territorial Committee Alessandria. “During the five days of training, the representatives of the various European realities were able to verify with their own eyes the quality of the interventions carried out by the Committee of Alessandria, since the director Vallauri opened our doors with enthusiasm” explained the Director Rinaldi , emphasizing how this first appointment had high-level interventions from the educational point of view. The group was also able to visit another particularly interesting and currently unique reality in Italy: it is Social Wood, the first solidarity prison shop open to the public – inside the walls of the “Cantiello e Gaeta” Prison House – which is craft products made by inmates.