The Serralves Foundation will begin on Monday a project aimed at bringing virtual reality to inmates of the prison establishments of Custóias and Santa Cruz do Bispo, thus opening the “windows to the world“.
Denise Pollini, the coordinator of the Serralves arts education service, and one of the project’s three-year project coordinators explained that “the idea came through a teacher from the Custóias prison, broadening horizons for prisoners “.
“For some years now we have been willing to develop a project of this kind with Serralves educators inside prisons,” he said, noting that this is aimed at “expanding prisoners’ perspectives and increasing their aspirations for the future “.
The project, entitled ‘Windows for the world’, starts next Monday, and will cover five groups of prisoners from the Custodian prison and two ‘intergenerational’ groups of mothers and children from the Santa Cruz do Bispo prison.
“This is a very complex project. We have a number of objectives, including psychosocial development, cooperation between inmates and activities that are being structured to discuss the concept of identity and self-esteem,” said Denise Pollini.
Thus, through a pedagogical exposition, laboratory workshops in the areas of science and the arts and theoretical-practical sessions, inmates will have the opportunity, once a month, to make “a visit oriented to the foundation and the park“.
The deputy director of Custóias prison, Ana Costa, said inmates are “very receptive to the project” and that, at the moment, more than 100 are registered.
“This is the first time we have Serralves coming into our house and there is a lot of regret on the part of inmates because it is something new and this technology is very good for them to join the project,” he said.
The presentation of ‘Windows to the world’ was held this afternoon in Serralves, along with the presentation of two other projects, funded by Portugal Social Innovation.
During the session, which was attended by the Secretary of State for Regional Development, Maria do Céu Albuquerque, the chairman of the Serralves Board of Directors, Ana Pinho, stressed that the project is also “a new window that opens” for Serralves.
“In this way, it is intended to contribute to the psychosocial development of the prison population through an innovative proposal that implements strategies of social promotion based on the arts and the environment that provide opportunities for life experiences and the structuring of the full exercise of citizenship, aiming at thus minimizing the serious social problems associated with imprisonment, “he added.