Reintegration through Sport
Since a couple of years, the Dutch Justice Department delivers the “Work through Sport” programme which focuses on reintegrating inmates in a sustainable manner in the job market.
One of the main programme components are football tournaments which are being staged within the prisons. The tournaments have already been attended by several EFDN member clubs and their teams. Among others, FC Schalke 04, Bohemian FC and a wide range of dutch professional football clubs have been in attendance.
The programme “Work through Sport” follows the goal of helping inmates to find their way back into society. In order to do so, the Dutch Justice Department has established cooperations with diverse football clubs to establish a sustainable concept that has the intention to help the inmates to find paid jobs.
Overall, the Dutch Justice Department works in collaboration with more than 40 sport clubs of which the majority are football clubs. Sport clubs have the advantage that they are often supported by sponsors and employees. Additionally, most of the clubs are frequently looking for volunteers. These circumstances lead to a model which helps inmates to get engaged with a sports club. The programme “Work through Sport” focuses most of all on providing daytime activities, volunteering and helping the detainees to find sustainable work.
The programme is based on three pillars:
- Day activities and volunteering: assisting at an amateur club with the ultimate goal of finding a paid position
- Working at a stadium: during and after imprisonment working at a professional football club with the ultimate goal of finding a paid position through the club’s business club
- Reintegration into the work environment: participating in reintegration programmes of football clubs that are focused on helping people to find a paid position.
As part of the programme, the Dutch Justice Department hosts football tournaments which shall inspire detainees and show them how to take a step towards a better future.
In 2017, the Euro Football tournament was held in the Norgerhaven prison in Veenhuizen.
Bohemian FC working with Mountjoy prison
One of the EFDN member clubs which has experience in participating in the tournaments of the Dutch Justice Department is Bohemian FC. Additionally, Bohemian FC delivers their own “Reintegration through Sport” programme. Already for five years, the club is working together with the Mountjoy Prison in Dublin. The club has been conducting regular training sessions for Mountjoy prisoners since 2012 and has provided opportunities for released prisoners to be involved with local football. Those training sessions have a very positive effect. Inmates get to break down the barriers, socialise with each other and reintegrate with the community later on.