Re-offending rates amongst juvenile delinquents in the Perm Region are extremely high – 70-90%. This is not surprising, considering the lack of preparation before their release from juvenile detention centers and lack of support from the state in helping them to adapt to society and find a new direction in life.

In 2008 Love’s Bridge started running a course in the Perm youth detention center – the first of its kind in the region. We run courses for teenage boys who are preparing to be released from prison.

“Our work in the detention center is important because it helps the boys understand the importance of their actions, and that they can choose a different kind of life. The staff at the detention center have noticed positive changes in all of the participants, and they now help prepare the boys for our classes. They also take part themselves, and this helps them see the teenagers in a new light.

“The course focuses on communication and feelings: how to behave in group situations, how do deal with your own emotions and have empathy for others, to be able to reflect on your own decisions. The boys can then use these skills in real life situations, which will help them adapt to new situations. They find out practical information about education, employment and health issues, which will also help them in life after prison.

“One of the boys, Artur, was a really active participant of one of our courses. He asked lots of questions, expressed his opinions sensibly – it seemed to us that he was one of the leaders in his group. When discussing the course with his teacher, she told us that he was usually a very shy young man, who wasn’t particularly active in class and avoided being the center of attention. She was pleasantly surprised that he had really opened up because of our course, and that the other teens and teachers now had a much higher opinion of him.”