The PrisonWatch foundation has been established to watch over foreign nationals. The mission of PrisonWatch is to make a human connection with those detained abroad. By visiting them they can help them during their detention and after release. PrisonWatch creates awareness about the situation of foreign national prisoners, draws attention to their distinctive needs and rights, and stimulates authorities to provide sufficient support during detention and after release.
We all know there are half a million foreign nationals in prison worldwide that encounter multiple difficulties in daily prison as a result of their foreign status, the language barrier and distance from their loved ones. Research shows that they hardly receive any visitors. In 2019 PrisonWatch started in the penitentiary institution of Alphen aan den Rijn a ‘Foreign National Prisoners’-project.
Newcomers with a foreign background and who are unable to speak Dutch or English can, if they wish, receive support from a PrisonWatch-host. The host is a fellow prisoner that speaks their language and who can help to get adjusted into prison life and to become informed about procedures and rules.
There is furthermore a network of trained network of PrisionWatch-volunteers that visit, upon request, their countrymen in prison. Research shows that visits by volunteers have a positive impact on foreign nationals during detention and it gives them a better chance to build up their lives after their release.
To ensure that the needs and rights of foreign nationals are monitored in prison, PrisonWatch works with a designated PrisonWatch-team. The team consists of prison staff from different disciplines with a special eye for foreign nationals.