Rehabilitation Programs for Russian Inmates in the Israeli Prisons
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The “Heart to Immigrants” initiative is a joint initiative between the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority and the KASTEL charity, which runs a unique rehabilitation program suitable for prisoners who emigrated from the former USSR. This programs are designed for the mental and social needs of the prisoners, in order to help them bringing about an expression of their original culture and succeed in integrating into Israeli society after their release from prison . Despite the great theoretical importance that can be attributed to such an initiative, which aims to seamlessly bridge the prisoner’s incarceration and his release, during the past 6 years since its establishment the project did not get off the ground, and is maintained among a very small group of a few dozen prisoners only. Interviews with IPS staff, performed during the research for this book, show that in recent years one can find former Soviet immigrants integrated in educational programs, as well as therapeutic and occupational frameworks. Nevertheless we assume that these prisoners did not have criminal records before immigrating and therefore these prisoners do not have dignity, class, and rank tattoos . In this, they differ from prisoners who emigrated from the Soviet Union as criminals and brought their habits with them, and who had tattoos stating various signs of respect and status .