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3. 1. 2023
Nazaj Naprej

Minister of Justice attends diploma award ceremony at the prison beekeeping course

On Friday, 18 November 2022, the Minister of Justice, Dr Dominika Švarc Pipan, together with the State Secretary, Dr Igor Šoltes, and her team visited the Ig Prison near the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana.

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Presentation of the Prison Honey project to the Minister of Justice and her staff; photo: Prison Administration

In the open ward of the men's prison, the head of the ward, Hermina Androjna, together with Gorazd Trušnovec and Franc Petrovčič from the Urban Beekeepers’ Association of Slovenia, presented the FoodE pilot project “Prison Honey” to the Minister and her team.

The project, which is a part of Horizons 2020 EU consortium FoodE, has been running in cooperation with the Prison Administration of the Republic of Slovenia in the Open ward of the men’s prison Ig since 2020 and aims to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for the environment and at the same time to empower incarcerated persons through practical beekeeping training course.

The Minister of Justice Dr Dominika Švarc Pipan inspecting the beehive stands with Head of the Open Ward Hermina Androjna and beekeeper Franc Petrovčič; photo: Prison Administration

The Administration has recognized the Prison Honey project, initiated by the Urban Beekeepers’ Association, as a useful activity for imprisoned persons, orienting them towards acquiring new skills and knowledge that are useful after their release from prison, while at the same time contributing to a useful way of spending time during their sentence and relieving the time of restricted freedom, thus contributing to the resocialization of prisoners.

Trušnovec and Petrovčič pointed out that the project is unique in the European area and that the experience of participating in the project has been very positive for the Association as well. It has been a learning process for all of them, as there is no similar model in the wider area.

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Jars of this year’s sweet product from the Prison Honey FoodE project; photo: GT

The beehives were decorated by the convicts themselves in cooperation with students and tutors from the Faculty of Design, who prepared the artwork templates. In the first year of practical beekeeping with imprisoned persons (2021), the honey harvest was quite limited due to poor weather conditions, but in 2022 we can boast with a production of 40 kg of excellent honey and 5 kg of fresh pollen, which is to be used by participants themselves.

The co-mentors expressed their satisfaction that it is nice to work with people who show an interest in beekeeping and are visibly progressing from week to week - in two years, 25 convicts have been actively involved in the Prison Honey project, and some of them are already working independently as beekeepers after their release.

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The award ceremony took place in a relaxed atmosphere; photo: Prison Administration

At the end of the meeting, the Minister, Dr Dominika Švarc Pipan, presented the convicted prisoner, who had actively participated in the project, with a diploma for completed beekeeping training, and herself received, as a token of appreciation, a jar of honey extracted this year from the hives in the Ig prison. Former convicts no longer at the institution who were involved in the Prison Honey project during last season and attended the corresponding number of hours on the course will receive their diplomas by post.

Link to the official GVT report: https://www.gov.si/