Yellow Ribbon: Uniting Nations Against Prejudices
The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) supports the work of European criminal justice systems leaders in their race against prejudice as part of Yellow Ribbon.
Yellow Ribbon is an awareness-raising project that aims to address the issues faced by individuals with a criminal history and their families. The project was originally founded in Singapore and has since gained international recognition. As part of their initiative, Yellow Ribbon organizes an annual run that brings together people from various sectors, including the public, private, and non-profit sectors, as well as individuals with criminal backgrounds and those currently serving sentences. The run serves as a platform to raise public interest in the challenges faced by these individuals and to promote second chances for a safer society.
The Yellow Ribbon project has been operating for eight years in the Czech Republic, thanks to the efforts of Gabriela Slováková, the CEO and founder of Yellow Ribbon. The project recently gained more momentum during a Roundtable event held in Prague, where representatives from European prison and probation systems, along with other stakeholders, gathered to discuss reducing recidivism, enhancing safety in society, and promoting inclusion.
Gabriela Slováková, former ICPA Board member, has a wealth of experience. She specializes in the treatment of convicts, the well-being of imprisoned parents' children, and the integration of inmates into society after their release. Slováková believes that cooperation with families plays a crucial role in successful reintegration and advocates for the principles of restorative justice.
The Roundtable in Prague showcased the importance of international partnerships in driving meaningful change in the criminal justice system. Attendees from various countries, including representatives from Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Singapore, and the Netherlands, participated in the event either in person or online. The Norwegian Prison Service, in particular, played a significant role as a partner in sharing ideas and building a network for the Yellow Ribbon project.
“Our partner - The Norwegian Correctional Service - is a great support in helping us to share our ideas and build a Yellow Ribbon network - Growing European Together,” adds Gabriela Slováková.
Gabriela Slováková expressed her gratitude for the positive response from participants, stating, "The round table is the first major international activity that brings the Yellow Ribbon to European awareness. I am moved by the fact that we already know that all participants will be looking for ways, both to visit our event and to realize the Yellow Ribbon Run in their countries."
The successful Roundtable event demonstrated the commitment of Yellow Ribbon and its partners to tackle the challenges faced by individuals with criminal backgrounds and their families. Through international cooperation, initiatives like the Yellow Ribbon project can continue to make a positive impact on society, fostering a brighter future for those affected by imprisonment.
“I see so many familiar faces, which reminds me of what Kim Ekhaugen [Head of International Unit, Norway, and ICPA Board Member] usually says, that international cooperation is just one big happy family. I believe that to initiate the movement and to promote support for those who have been affected by imprisonment is essential for their reintegration into society. The Yellow Ribbon Round Table is a significant opportunity for us to collaborate, learn from each other and taste the bright future for individuals who have experienced the challenges of incarceration,” added Ida Lindmo, representing the Norwegian Prison Service.
Planning is currently underway for the next Yellow Ribbon Run, which will be held in Prague next year. Details of the event, including registration and participation information, will be announced in the coming months.