Implementation of the Rehabilitation Program for Inmates in the colonies of Borispil, Romny and Sumy, Ukraine


In the framework of the Ukrainian National Rehabilitation Program for Inmates with mental and behavioral disorders due to the use of psychoactive substances in prisons, Ukraine EU-ACT Project delivered several activities during 2018 and 2019.

It must be highlighted that it is the first time that this type of rehabilitation program is being implemented in Ukraine and that it will be used as a standard methodology for any further program developed in Ukraine.

The activities already conducted in the last two years included:

  • An assessment of psychological intervention programs in the SCES colonies. One major conclusion of this assessment was the need to implement a more sophisticated drug dishabituation program. 
  • The design of the general guidelines of a drug treatment program in close cooperation with Ukrainian professionals. The draft and review of the program manual. Several drafts of the manual were reviewed and improved by a pool of Ukrainian experts jointly with experts of "Instituciones Penitenciarias" of the Ministry of Interior of Spain, to tailor further the program to the SCES needs. 
  • Two training of trainers. Several SCES professionals directly involved in the implementation of the program received training in the contents of the program and in the correct way of implementing.
  • Pilot implementation of the Rehabilitation Program in 5 SCES colonies so that EU-ACT professionals provided practical support to the SCES officials for its effective implementation. The prisons where the program is already working are Borispil, Bucha, Chernihiv, Romny, and Sumy.

It includes a woman prison (Chernihiv) and prisons with several types of inmates. In every selected prison, there was also a different approach. In some centers, NGO's are supporting the implementation of the program (Bucha and Sumy), while in others, only penitentiary staff engaged with the inmates. These pilots will allow evaluating the most efficient way to broadcast this initiative at the national level.

From a technical point of view, it is a psycho-educative intervention with a cognitive-behavioral orientation. This means that the program is aimed to change the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions associated. 

The program is fully included in the manual already drafted, printed, and distributed among professionals, both in digital and hard-copy, in English and Ukrainian language (you can download in All psycho-educative resources necessary for its implementation are available in this book. Professionals do not need to further elaborate on any materials. 

The implementation of the program requires simple material resources. Sessions should take place in a classroom of colonies with chairs and a flipchart/blackboard. Professionals involved in the program will need to print/photocopy the annexes that are used for the therapeutic activities. 

The Rehabilitation Program is not an expensive tool. The most demanding feature of this program is its complexity from a therapeutic point of view. This problem is properly solved through two complementary strategies: 

  1. A training program for professionals that are involved in the implementation of the Rehabilitation Program. Already conducted and in the phase to be integrated as part of the Curricula of the Academy and Training Centres of SCES.
  2. Practical support provided by the EU-ACT experts during the pilot implementation of the program. If necessary, due to the complexity of the implementation, a review and adjustment of the program itself in some prisons.
  3. This program is included as a relevant objective of the Plan of Action and National Strategy on Drugs of Ukraine leading by the Ministry of Health, and it's also one of the activities of the Passport of Reform of the Penitentiary System of Ministry of Justice.

EU-ACT Ukraine is engaged in the possible implementation of a similar program and adapted for criminal offenders with psychiatric problems that are under the custody of MoH.

The project will conclude with an evaluation of the program at the end of 2020.