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Portugal: digital training for inmates

A new social training project intends to provide inmates with digital skills to help them reintegrate into the labour market. It includes, in its initial phase, two basic courses carried out in the penal institution of Leiria (EPL). The courses are promoted by the Protocol centre for professional training for the justice sector (CPJ).

In this phase, the project includes the development of the training actions  Get connected on basic digital literacy, and Introduction to cybersecurity. The first has a duration of 30 hours and aims to help learners gain a better understanding of the internet, computers and social media, such as learning to create a LinkedIn profile as a tool to help find a job. The second action has a duration of 15 hours and intents to raise learners’ awareness of safety, cybersecurity and online privacy issues, while providing additional insights into the challenges they may face today.

The project is the result of a protocol signed by the Directorate-General of prison services (Direção Geral de Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais, DGRSP), the Justice institute for financial & equipment management (Instituto de Gestão Financeira e Equipamentos da Justiça, IGFEJ), CPJ and Cisco Systems Portugal.

The DGRSP and the CPJ are jointly defining in which penal institutions this collaborative project is going to be carried out. The CPJ is also responsible for preparing and scheduling the training plan, ensuring that local environment is favourable, and for the assessment of satisfaction and impact on prison facilities.

This collaboration protocol is an important step for the development and digital transformation process in Portugal. It is also in line with skills anticipation, training, employment and social reintegration policies, improving the synergies of existing structures.

The IGFEJ, based on the Cisco networking academy programme, a complete training project specialising in next generation networks and cybersecurity courses, also created the Academy of Justice. This programme develops e-learning ICT training activities. Cisco's areas of cooperation in this project also include content development and maintenance, evaluations and certification of the courses, as well as the online system for their implementation. It also provides complementary learning materials, interactive tools and other resources that may be needed, supporting technically and functionally the administrator and the instructors assigned to teach the training courses. The IGFEJ is responsible for promoting the Academy of Justice programme and appoints its administrators and instructors.

In a society dominated by digital media, investing in ICT training programmes in penal institutions and education centres of the Ministry of Justice is crucial in order to promote the social and work reintegration of young people and adults in society.