Freedom inside the Circle

a book by Ana Batrićević

Freedom inside the Circle” by Ana Batrićević, a photographer and researcher at the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research in Belgrade, Serbia is a book about prisoners who work with shelter dogs as a part of their re-socialization program in the closed (high – security) department of prison in Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia.

The program based upon the resocialisation of prisoners through their daily interaction with shelter dogs was first introduced in the semi-open department of Sremska Mitrovica prison. However, the program is now provided in the closed, high – security department as well, where prisoners are facing higher security demands, serving longer sentences, committed more serious criminal offences and living under a much stricter regime than those in the semi-open part. Interaction with shelter dogs on a daily basis through feeding, grooming, walking and training helps prisoners increase their empathy, sense of responsibility, self-confidence and resolve various emotional issues.

At the same time, shelter dogs are trained and they become more socialized, which increases their chances of being adopted in the future. Also, the prisoners obtain official confirmation (diploma) that they have acquired knowledge and skills necessary for dog keeping, which improves their employability after serving the sentence. All these features make this program beneficial for: prisoners, abandoned dogs and the entire community. The experiences of prisoners when it comes to working with dogs under such specific conditions are presented in this book through their own words and Ana’s documentary photographs.

The book was published in 2021 by the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research in Belgrade, Serbia, after Ana’s photo exhibition also named „Freedom inside the Circle“.