C.R.I.S (Criminals’ Return In to Society) is an international non-profit-organization that exists in eight European countries. The organization started in Sweden 1997, and the first CRIS-association in Finland was started in 2003.
In Finland CRIS operates in seven different localities. The keywords are honesty, solidarity, comradeship and abstinence from drugs. The experience of the older members, concerning a criminal way of life and above all the break from it, is the basis of how C.R.I.S. tries to help other people in similar circumstances.
We try to be of assistance to discharged prisoners during their first period of freedom.
PICKUP AT RELEASE
In order to give the prisoner an honest alternative, C.R.I.S. contacts inmates while still incarcerated. The contacts are intensified during the period just before release. On the date of release, a number of members of C.R.I.S. meet the prisoner outside the walls of the prison in order to actively show the new member what true comradeship means. There must be neither time or space to fall back into the old criminal way of life.
An important ingredient of C.R.I.S. is the work of a pool of supervisors. Older members of the association are meant to function as a link of integration between new members and society and its authorities on the other hand. The idea is that the recently released member shall be able to get in contact with his or her Aid person by phone or personally, in order to get direct help and support in difficult situations. The contact between the Aid Person and the released member is reinforced by their common background.
The Aid Person is reachable 24 hours a day and is equipped with a mobile phone which may also be issued to the released member.
Many criminals released from prison have acquired a suspicious attitude towards the judicial system and other authorities. Here, C.R.I.S. enjoys great confidence among inmates all over the country and it can function effectively in its activities. The interest of the media has been great and C.R.I.S. has tried to make use of this to spread the message that there are solid alternatives to a life filled with drugs and criminality.
CRIS is an association of former criminals and addicts and it stands for: HONESTY, FREE FROM DRUGS, COMRADESHIP and SOLIDARITY.
Target group of CRIS is ex-criminals and addicts who have decided to start a new life and return back into society. The idea is to help people who are released from prison to stay away from crime and drugs by offering them a new, honest and drug free social network
CRIS in Finland and in practice
The contact between CRIS and the prisoner is maintained throughout the whole sentence. We will pick up the prisoner from the prison gates, when the day of release will come. After release, we will start to build up a new kind of life, using authorities and networks which collaborate with CRIS.
CRIS offers peer support, experience and confidential service. The support starts a few months before the release and continues until the person can stand on his or her own feet. We are aware of the critical moment of the release.
The goal of prison work is to support prisoners in freeing themselves from the triangle of drugs, crimes and prisons. In support meetings held in prisons, we share experiences, peer support and inform the prisoner of further possibilities in society.
The Activity center is open daily (not on Sunday), offering a team which can help you in the integration process. Team members help you to contact and cooperate with officials. The Activity center offers a place where to meet people daily and build new networks and friendships in their new clean lifestyle.
CRIS offers several services, which the Criminal Sanctions Agency and the, City social and health care services are buying. This is common practice in Finland, where the state and the city are responsible for covering the social services of their citizens. CRIS offers services, which the city is willing to finance.
FREE TIME ACTIVITY
CRIS arranges sport and other leisure activities for it’s customers and members. There are weekly soccer practices, floor and volleyball games and tournaments. Besides that there are regular movie evenings.
CRIS is cooperating in several national and local projects, financed by the state or the cities. The goal of the projects is to improve the opportunities of released prisoners in education, labor market integration, housing and self support.
CRIS has more than 50 cooperation partners.