In the year 1979, a group of social operators and Red Cross volunteers started organising counselling, support and orientation activities in favour of detainees with drug addiction in the Rome prisons of Rebibbia and Regina Coeli.
Today, in order to respond to the growing amount of requests from drug users in prison and the prison benefits for drug users in jail, this activity has evolved towards the creation of a Welcome and Psychological Support service. These two meetings are held every week inside the prison yards of Regina Coeli and Rebibbia.
The drug users before attending the meeting must previously make a written request directed to the Prison Project staff of Villa Maraini. Therapeutic support and orientation are provided in order to assist interested persons in choosing which structure can offer the most appropriate rehabilitation programme for them. Since its creation, the Prison Project has been replying to thousands of letters by detained drug users requesting psychological assistance.
They have also put into action hundreds of support and welcome groups. The Prison Project service evaluates the psychological profile of the detained drug user before granting any request for a therapeutic community program at Villa Maraini. From the year 1994, the Prison Project has a consultation desk at Villa Maraini. The desk provides information, counselling and legal assistance, psychological support and orientation service to drug users pending trial, in house arrest or under alternative custody measures, as well as to their families.
Here are some figures of the activities provided by the Prison Project Service in the year 2007:
- 300 meeting groups have been held in five different roman jails inside Regina Coeli and Rebibbia Complex;
- 47 prisoners sent to recuperation facilities;
- 50 groups held at the desk with users restricted at their home;
- 518 helpline consultations; a constant legal and psychological support.