What we do
A diverse national network, operating in the Prison-Justice field
FARAPEJ brings together about sixty associations spread throughout France. These very diverse associations, which may be local, regional or national, collectively constitute a network of about 6,000 volunteers and 650 salaried employees. In addition to the associations, individual members bring their skills and know-how to FARAPEJ.
The actions of the associations
The members of the Federation develop a variety of actions for all audiences concerned with criminal matters, in particular :
- For prisoners : nearly 10% of prisoners meet regularly with members of FARAPEJ associations.
- For Prison leavers and prisoners serving their sentences in open facilities : persons who have been given a suspended sentence or who have been sentenced to a criminal sanction applied in the community (community service, penal coercion, conditional release, outside placement, placement under electronic surveillance) are supported and sometimes accommodated by associations.
- For the families and relatives of detainees : FARAPEJassociations in charge of accompanying families receive around 500,000 visits a year.
- For persons who are victims of criminal offences : in the context of victim assistance.
- For the general public : through information and awareness-raising activities on justice and prison, such as the National Prison Days, created in 1991 by FARAPEJ.
Actions of the Federation
- Running the network and supporting the members in their actions : FARAPEJ runs the network of associations, brings them together in thematic working groups. It encourages the emergence of common projects and is attentive to the needs of the associations, proposing resource persons at the request of the associations. FARAPEJ’s newsletter disseminates information on the Federation, association news and current penal and penitentiary issues within the network.
- Training and informing actors in the prison-justice field : FARAPEJ promotes a training approach for members of associations. Throughout the year, FARAPEJ organises training sessions which are adapted to the fields of intervention and the needs of its members and also open to all citizens wishing to be trained and informed. A training catalogue, available to all, allows them to ask the Federation to schedule the desired training modules. FARAPEJ has a specialised documentation centre available to all, to make existing resources on prison and criminal justice accessible ; it publishes advice sheets for volunteers and salaried staff who work in this field on a daily basis.
- Supporting people confronted with prison or criminal justice : FARAPEJ provides information and guidance to detainees and their families, by telephone, mail or in field actions. It supports associative projects for prisoners and their families.
- Informing the general public about prison and penal issues : FARAPEJ created the National Prison Days in 1991 and now runs them every year within the National Prison Concertation Group. It organizes and supports symposiums, study days, communication actions and academic studies. It develops public information tools, such as an online directory of associations to make their actions accessible.
- Fostering reflection in the service of action : FARAPEJ maintains a reflection on criminal justice, prison and more generally social justice, through a review called ‘Prison Justice’, working groups, study or reflection days or by organising conference.
- Developing proposals to improve the functioning of Justice : FARAPEJ regularly makes proposals and contributes to the public debate by calling on the public authorities or by participating in working groups of the Ministry of Justice and the Directorate of Penitentiary Administration. It develops partnerships with French or foreign associations or groups of associations pursuing similar objectives to its own, or interested in the same issues.
Based on the Declaration of Human Rights, the purpose of FARAPEJ is to “contribute to the improvement of the functioning of the judiciary and law enforcement services and to take actions to limit the destructive effects of prison". For this purpose, FARAPEJ brings together individuals and federates associations that act for Justice and wish to develop a reflection at the service of action.
FARAPEJ was born out of the transformation into a federation of the national ARAPEJ network, which was created in 1980 from the merger of eight associations working with prison leavers and their families. In order to become a strong and determined interlocutor with the public authorities, FARAPEJ was founded on 6 April 1991, with the sponsorship of 51 personalities from the Prison-Justice world.
For 25 years, FARAPEJ has been the only Federation to bring together associations that act throughout the penal chain, from trial to release from prison. This generalist nature allows the Federation to have a global understanding of prison-justice issues, contributing to transforming individual experiences into collective knowledge, promoting meetings and giving rise to joint projects between member associations.
The member associations can thus take a broader look at their field of intervention by comparing their experience in the field with what is being done elsewhere, improve and share their practices, build a common reflection and suggest a vision and proposals to improve the functioning of justice and limit the destructive effects of prison.
This vision leads FARAPEJ and its associations to want a far-reaching transformation of life in prison, in particular through a significant change in the means of expression, the place and attention given to relatives, the nature of activities and the organisation of a typical day in prison, more importantly, through respect for the dignity of all detainees. It also leads them to try and convince people that the prison sentence is only one among others. Incarceration is only one stage of the custodial sentence : its execution must be individualised while planning for a prepared, gradual and accompanied release.