ASSOCIATION OF JUSTICE AND MERCY

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Social Service

Management of daily life

 In each prison building, AJEM has a person responsible for the management of the prisoners’ daily life. This person ensures the best life conditions possible for all the prisoners in the building he is in charge of. He is considered the adviser of the prisoners, as well as of the AJEM team inside the building. Furthermore, he is the one coordinating the activities offered by AJEM.

Indeed, each prisoner must be able to easily access an AJEM adviser to explain his problems, submit his requirements or ask for help. Thus, this adviser can sort all the requirements and establish, if needed, a coordination of all the actions undertaken by AJEM. It is therefore a matter of “availability for any urgent or unexpected cases”.

Through the almost daily presence of its staff within the prison walls, AJEM aims for a constant and personalized support for the prisoners in order to know them better and develop a trust-based relationship with them, a collaboration with the Internal Security Forces, a proper management of the school building and other services offered by AJEM, an identification of the needs and, eventually, a suggestion of solutions whenever possible.

AJEM also supplies the prisoners in need with a hygiene kit and detergents, in addition to ensuring the maintenance of the system of potable water filters, the management and maintenance of laundry rooms and the food supplying operation for rehabilitation center residents.
Assistance operation provided to the inmates from other Lebanese prisons:inmates Handling of prisoners 

Rounds are organized in the whole country, on a regular basis, in order to provide other prisons and holding facilities with equipment. During these rounds, doctors, nurses and social workers coordinate their work to ensure the monitoring of the prisoners who wish so.

The Follow Up of Drug Users

AJEM has set up a rehabilitation center for drug users. The center is located in a separate part of the Roumieh prison and is managed by a joint committee of AJEM’ specialized staff and prison officers. The recruitment of the center beneficiaries is made according to the severity level of the drug addiction, the remaining time of imprisonment and the detainee’s motivation to rehabilitation.

A specialized educator is currently working at AJEM in the rehabilitation center for drug users through following-up on their daily lives, on the implementation of their programs and on their evolution; in collaboration with all the people participating in the educational and social action: psychologists, psychiatrists, administrative staff, social service assistants, teachers, magistrates, etc. In 2008, the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health published an advanced case study on the AJEM rehabilitation center, the needs it addresses, its philosophy of action and the achieved results, etc. 

Social Work

 The social work undertaken by AJEM in prison environments aims at facilitating the social and professional reintegration of prisoners and at reducing criminal recidivism. Therefore, the social interventions of the AJEM team target capacity-building in order to develop the person on the human and social levels. Social work is achieved by social workers and specialized educators at once, who work with the prisoners as well as their families.

Like the social worker, the specialized educator’s primary function is educational. He works with individuals facing difficulties throughout their evolutions, helps them to access autonomy and socialization while accompanying them on a daily basis to allow them to elaborate and execute their life plans. He works with the people who find themselves in such difficulties that the help of specialized devices and professionals appears to be necessary. He works to value the socialization, the maintenance or development of the social abilities of the individuals and their environment. He works to preserve the remaining abilities and to set up new adapted types of socialization. These actions are particularly important in a prison environment.

Actions:

The social department works to:

1. Address the needs of the prisoners;

2. Develop their personal, relational and professional skills;

3. Modify the prisoners’ behaviors that could lead them to recidivism and hinder their social reintegration after their release from prison;

4. Elaborate with the prisoners life plans for the period following their release;

5. Take action with the family of the prisoners if needed.

Goals:

1. Spot the difficulties and problems lived by the individuals, groups and collectivities.

2. Help them to clearly discern their social reality and situation.

3. Develop awareness of their strengths as individuals and groups in order to solve their problems and value their rights and duties, while considering the rights and duties of others.

4. Promote their participation in the solving of their own problems by mobilizing the individual and collective resources.

5. Help them to access a realistic autonomy and interdependence.

As shown in the chart below, it is not only a matter of “relieving” but also of “curing”, as much as possible.

In addition to the reception, needs assessment, orientation, elaboration of life plans for the prisoners and home visits to let the family participate in the conflict resolution and reintegration, it is also necessary that the social workers collaborate with external resources in order to:

1. Accelerate the records follow-up.

2. Advise the family to turn to the appropriate resources.

3. Create a network to facilitate the professional orientation.

The setting up of workshops with the families and the creation of a counseling and listening service for them are two other goals aimed at by AJEM.

A broader strategy for social change…

Eventually, social work isn’t limited to the prisoners and their families. AJEM must target a deep social change. A primary work approach considering the different actors (without whom no change can be reached) must be achieved. In this perspective, AJEM also works on the following levels: