Cooperation between Metsähallitus and the Criminal Sanctions Agency continued at several sites in 2016. Prisoners from the Hämeenlinna, Kerava, Laukaa, Suomenlinna and Vilppula open penal institutions serviced national parks in southern Finland, made signs for Vallisaari island off the coast of Helsinki, and renovated the Mustajärvi hut in the Evo hiking area. In particular the servicing of the enormously popular Vallisaari island, which was opened to the public in the summer, would have been impossible without cooperation with the open prison of Suomenlinna.
The natural environment, teamwork, and solving challenges that crop up during the course of work improve the prisoners’ physical fitness, self-confidence and belief in their own abilities.
– Above all, the work benefits the prisoners themselves. They get to try out freedom in practical and physical outdoor work, and everyone does the job to the best of their abilities. This may be the first job in which they have been trusted with responsibility. It is an important step on the way towards freedom. In addition, the work strengthens their confidence in their own skills and abilities. Work at wilderness destinations is a step towards freedom and a normal life, says Tuula Tarvainen, Director of Laukaa Prison.
The work done by the prisoners keeps hiking facilities in better condition, which directly benefits taxpayers and nature tourism businesses.
Metsähallitus’ work sites are a tool in the rehabilitation of prisoners towards a future without crime. All other tasks and issues related to prisoners are managed by the prisons. The prisoners work for Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland and are treated as employees.
Photo: Kai Takala