Prison glossary published in ten different languages

Published 15.5.2018

The aim of the project called Prison Term as a Possibility is to help people with a criminal background to reintegrate into society and desist from crime by way of individual work with the clients, experiments on new forms of service, network cooperation, joint development, and recommendations.

Finnish prisons have many prisoners who, even after a long sentence term, can only speak a few words of Finnish. Therefore, the project was also tasked with compiling a simple but comprehensive prison glossary, which would help such prisoners to communicate with the prison staff about their affairs. Vice versa, the staff can use the glossary as their tool.

The glossary was prepared together with the security staff. However, the glossary is only one way to approach the problems caused by language barriers from a solution-focused perspective. In order to avoid possible technical problems, a decision was made to use a printed version of the glossary.

“We discussed and negotiated the content a long time. At first, a glossary with 500 entries felt like a good idea. However, after a long planning and editing process, we produced a short glossary, which did not include everything we would have wanted. Sometimes it is good to set strict limits," says Ahmed Abdulkarim, who works in the project Prison Term as a Possibility.

The prison glossary is now available in ten different languages. The purpose of the short glossary is not to replace the need or use of interpretation services but to ease the handling of everyday matters. After gaining experience of the use of the short glossary, the project will develop more tools for improving the services meant for foreign prisoners.

Further information:
Project Manager Kati Kaarlejärvi, tel. +358 50 343 9593 kati.kaarlejarvi(at)
Project Worker Ahmed Abdulkarim, tel. +358 50 324 0432, ahmed.abdulkarim(at)

Glossary by the Finnish Criminal Sanctions Agency in different languages