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First Czech open prison opens near Prague

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Jirice, Central Bohemia, Oct 16 (CTK) – An open prison, in which no armed guards will be working, launched its operation in Jirice on Monday, but the first inmates are to arrive only in the days to come, its director Petr Suk has told journalists.

The project is to help inmates get used to everyday life after their release from prison and its aim is to make relapse into crime less frequent, he said.

The prisoners will follow a daily routine different from that applied in regular prisons and similar to normal life. They alone will be responsible for meeting their daily tasks and nobody would tell them when to get up, go to breakfast or to work, Suk said.

The open prison has 14 employees and it can house up to 32 inmates. It is surrounded by a high wall and guarded by cameras. There are four houses for prisoners and one administrative building for the prison staff. Its construction cost nearly 30 million crowns. In future, a square and a garden are to be built in the area.

Apart from a full-time job, the prisoners will take care of rabbits and kangaroos kept on the premises.

The Jirice pilot project is to be assessed after one year of its operation. If the open prison concept proves effective, the Jirice prison will be enlarged to house up to 100 inmates and further such facilities may be built elsewhere in the country.

When considering open prisons, the Czech Republic found inspiration especially in Norway and Germany.

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