Martina Justova

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Martina Justova was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Recognizing that Slovakia’s prison system does virtually nothing to prepare prisoners for their ultimate release back into society, Martina has developed an inmate rehabilitation program that starts inside the prison and offers support that continues after prisoners have served their sentence. Employing educators and social workers not affiliated with the prisons to provide in-prison schooling, skills training, and counseling, she is able to build trusting relationships and support networks that will last long after the inmates are released. She also provides “first-stop” jobs to help newly released inmates earn a living and eventually reintegrate into the job market.
Martina’s programs and ideas are slowly opening up a secretive and often corrupt prison system to outside scrutiny and breaking down barriers between prisons and the society at large. Her work is empowering those prison officials who are open to change; showing social workers and civil society organizations new ways to approach prisoner reform; encouraging employers to hire former inmates; and prompting policy-makers and the general public to rethink the penal process.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

More For You