From 7 to 9 May, EULEX, in collaboration with the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, facilitated a visit of female Kosovo Corrections staff to a number of Swedish correctional facilities.
During the visit, the participants – female members of the Kosovo Corrections Service (KCS) representing different correctional facilities in Kosovo – visited three sites: Prison Hinseberg, a medium security female prison; prison Faringso, a minimum security female prison; and the maximum security male remand-prison, Huddinge. The staff members also participated in several meetings with the representatives of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service in Stockholm.
Throughout the study visit, the correctional staff had the opportunity to share best European practices in terms of gender mainstreaming and women’s career development within the correctional service. The staff had the opportunity to learn more about the importance of gender policies, how to train and motive their fellow members and the importance of an ethics code in any type of training. The participants also got to know more about several rehabilitation programs and activities by visiting different workshops, production units and seeing the final products made by the inmates.
Project manager and EULEX Transition Coordinator Alina Laura Matache argues that strong managerial support is necessary to increase the percentage of women in management positions through inclusive policies, transparent and fair recruitment, regularly evaluating staff, and tailored trainings. “It is also very important to have a structured course of action to promote women in management positions – it is also all about senior management being willing to do so”, said Ms. Matache.
Since 2015, EULEX has contributed through its Correctional Unit and Gender Focal Point system to foster gender awareness in the KCS. These activities have included surveying the conditions of the female staff in KCS, running campaigns in universities to encourage women to apply to the correctional services and different workshops delivered by the EULEX Correctional, Gender and Human Resources offices to assess women’s career development opportunities. Moreover, in cooperation with the Swedish Prison and Probation Service experts, tailored workshops were organized on the women’s skills and experience, and how to increase their confidence when applying for management and leadership positions. As a result of these activities, EULEX provided the KCS senior management with a number of recommendations – among others, the establishment of a Women’s Association.
The study visit concludes a three-year project dedicated to empowering female officers in KCS towards a professional career, following the establishment of the Women’s Association within the institution in 2018.