Depending on their function and facilities available, the penal institutions offer various educational opportunities to their inmates.
Please find below a list of educational opportunities offered by the Penal Institutions of the Canton of Zurich (VEZ), the Penal Institution of Pöschwies (JVA Pöschwies), the Penal Facility for Juveniles Uitikon (MZU), and the Remand Prisons of the Canton of Zurich (UGZ).
Penal Institutions of the Canton of Zurich (VEZ)
The Penal Institutions of the Canton of Zurich (with the exception of semi-detention in Winterthur) offer their inmates the opportunity to receive a basic education. The programme «Education in penal institutions» (German: «Bildung im Strafvollzug (BiSt)») allows detained persons to catch up with their school education, mainly in reading, writing, and mathematics, it serves to enhance general knowledges and teaches how to use tools such as computers. The programme also promotes special skills, self-competence skills, and soft skills.
In addition to supporting detainees in coping with everyday life in a penal institution, the most important objective of basic education is to improve the offenders’ chances of successful reintegration into the labour market and society in general.
Penal Institution of Pöschwies (JVA Pöschwies)
The JVA Pöschwies has 15 study groups consisting of six students each. Basic education for detainees was introduced at the JVA Pöschwies on May 1, 2011.
The JVA Pöschwies also offers various vocational training programmes. School lessons and the qualification procedures (final examinations and assessments) take place on the premises of the JVA Pöschwies. Specialized classes and general knowledge classes are taught by external teachers as well as by instructors of the JVA Pöschwies. The detainees may choose from the following basic education programmes:
- Basic education with certificate (two years): baker and confectioner practitioner, garden assistant, kitchen assistant, metal work practitioner, print media practitioner (sheet-fed printing / print processing), tyre practitioner, carpenter practitioner.
- Basic education with Federal Vocational Education and Training (VET) Diploma (three or four years): Fully certified baker and confectioner, maintenance technician, gardener, cook, metal worker, carpenter.
Language and IT classes with diplomas or certificates
Students of language and IT classes may complete their studies with an internationally recognized diploma or certificate. Every year, numerous detainees make use of this offer and graduate with German language diplomas, Cambridge exams, and ECDL exams.
Some detainees participate in correspondence courses offered by various educational institutions. The students enrol in a wide variety of classes such as language classes, Bible courses, courses in graphical design, information technology, accounting, business and commerce as well as baccalaureate courses (A-levels degree).
Penal Facility for Juveniles Uitikon (MZU)
The Facility for the Execution of Measures for Juvenile Male Delinquents in Uitikon (MZU) offers vocational as well as school education to its juvenile inmates. This is the most promising approach for a successful reintegration of juvenile offenders.
First of all, the school skills of the juvenile offenders are assessed at the schools of the day-release unit as well as of the closed unit of the Uitikon Facility. Personal resources are evaluated by means of various tests with the goal of creating the best possible conditions for vocational school. Before transferring to a vocational school, the teachers and the young offenders evaluate their current work and prepare a transfer report together.
MZU offers vocational degrees such as the Federal Vocational Education and Training Diploma (Eidg. Fähigkeitszeugnis EFZ), the Federal Vocational Education and Training Certificate (Eidg. Berufsattest EBA) as well as proof of competence in the following areas:
- educational sectors of the closed unit
- garage and car repair
- garden centre
- domestic management
- metal construction
- technical services
Remand Prisons of the Canton of Zurich
In the facilities of the Remand Prisons of the Canton of Zurich (UGZ), classes in small groups are held by the hour. Classes are held on a voluntary basis as there is no legal obligation to provide basic education or further training to detainees in remand and security detention. In contrast to adult offenders, juvenile offenders in the Penal Institution Limmattal are subject to compulsory school attendance. A teacher is available for school education.
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