ACT ( Prison and Society Association) was born in 1997 thanking to an idea by the mourned Dr. Giancarlo Zappa, then President of the Surveillance Court of Brescia, just placed to retirement .The main purpose in Act Statute is to take part into the course of social re-integration of people in criminal enforcement.
We believe that the local community could support an estrangement from relationships networks linked to the crime ( relationship which in prison instead persist and indeed often born and get consolidation) and help the inclusion in relationships networks with different values (related to affective, working , recreation areas, etc..) with the result of increasing opportunities for social integration and construction of autonomy’s courses for the person, carrying out the principle sanctioned in Article n.27 of the Italian Constitution, concerning the intent of rehabilitation of the term of imprisonment . We strongly believe that this could greatly reduce the possibility of recidivism and therefore would increase the collective security.
ACT plays a role of coordination between many organizations working with different vocations and functions into the justice system.
The association is governed by a Board composed of 9 members and numerous volunteers who are concerned with various activities. The Board represents the different realities that work together Act; it meets once a month to check the state of the projects, propose new ones and manage the whole activity of the association itself. Our intervention develops mainly on two levels:
• With subjects serving a sentence intra et extra moenia. Acting on the conscious and unconscious needs related to the hard conditions of detention, developing the ability on one's life managing, because prisoners are often alone, not informed and don’t know how to move.
• With the territory. Bringing the territory near to a constructive and innovative idea about the term of imprisonment and about alternative measures , that will be fully realized only with the help of the community which can provide the required interventions and implements, in addition to the necessary conceptual support.
Currently we run a " social secretary-ship window", outside the prison, a project of "social housing" turned to people under criminal enforcement or to their family, a project concerning the protection and recovery of the parental function of detained persons; we attend on scholastic and university training through of the establishment of the first university center in Lombardy; we promote cultural activities of various levels and kind and sports activities (through the UISP); we organized an internal and external editorial office for the realization of the newspaper "Zone 508"; we activated an education project in the secondary schools of the province through which we try to awaken the didactic world to the problems of social rehabilitation of sentenced persons; we made a project of cultural mediation for the needs of foreign population; we take care, together to the treatment area of the penal institutes of Brescia, about welcome service for new people coming in prison; we work together with Volca’s volounteers, with the operators of the SERT, with the Ombusdman for the rights of persons deprived of their liberty for the municipality of Brescia, with network agents, with UEPE, with the Department of Safety of the City of Brescia and with the Centre for Voluntary Service of Brescia. Other carried out projects concern the starting and continuative training for penitentiary volunteers.
The spirit that animates us is the desire to create a bridge between prison and the society, so that people who live outside do not ignore the situation of individuals running criminal and the prisoners won’t be completely marginalized. In fact, because of that last reason, once they will be free, they could commit new crimes again . In this sense, our effort is directed with special fervor towards “restorative justice grounds”, so that both the victims of crime and the whole community can find, in the course of individual rehabilitation, the proper protection of their, often not recognized, right needs . In this framework we have promoted the involvement of third sector, to identify different situations in the world of associations where set up official plans for alternative and re – socializing measures, both where they are placed with prescribing rules and where they are represented as an experience of voluntary and repairing task, autonomously chosen by the convicted.
In December 2009 ACT Onlus won the “ Premio Bulloni” instituted by the City of Brescia.