What is De Sluis?


De Sluis is officially called “Diaconale Stichting Gevangenenzorg De Sluis” which means Diaconal Foundation Prisonerscare stelt “The Sluice”. Our aim is to support inmates of Justitieel Complex Zaanstad (JCZ) and ex-inmates in our local area, through practical aid, aid to their families and support upon return in society. Our aid and support is realized through the churches in the area Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zaanstreek-Waterland.

De Sluis works both outside and inside of the JCZ. In that way De Sluis want to make the connection between the needs of prisoners and support network outside of prisons. In this way we aim at helping (ex-)prisoners as well as their families.

Inside the JCZ prison

Inside the JCZ De Sluis wants to make it possible for volunteers to:

  • support the prison pastors in church celebrations, group sessions and special activities at the holidays;
  • help at parent-child activities and activities for the partners of prisoners
  • pay individual visits to those prisoners that have need for it.

The diaconal pastor of De Sluis works in the JCZ prison and personally speaks with prisoners about their needs. The diaconal pastor works in the team of prison pastors and mainly aims to connect the needs of prisoners to the help that is available in the network outside of prison. The diaconal pastor also coordinates the volunteers in the JCZ and offers practical aid, such as second hand clothing, to prisoners.

Outside of the JCZ prison

The coordinator of De Sluis works outside of the prison in our office in Amsterdam. The diaconal pastor and coordinator have frequent contact as to assure that the needs of prisoners can be connected to the network outside. The coordinator has overview over the possibilities for aid through several organisations in the area and coordinates the support network of churches and volunteers of De Sluis.

De Sluis specificaly aims at cooperating with other organisations in the area, so that specific needs can be taken up by organisations that have specialiced in specific areas.

We also have our own network of volunteers from churches. Many churches function as social communities that can have great value to (ex-)prisoners and their families. We aim at:

  • opening up these social networks (of churches) to ex-prisoners, so that they can build new socials contacts and can benefit from the support that is available in these networks;
  • organising activities, or supporting churches in doing this, that are specifically open for ex-offenders, such as meals or celebrations;
  • having a personal approach, that is based in respect, trust and that is unconditional. This means that each person is welcome and we acknowledge that each person has different needs and desires. We do not have standard goals that need to be met with;
  • offer perspective when there seems to be none. We start by listening attentively, offereing trust, resocialisation and inner restoration;
  • having eye for the particular needs of Eastern-European prisoners, that usually cannot access the formal support network in the Netherlands. Through the network of De Sluis we want to offer practical aid and a community of volunteers that speaks Eastern-European languages.