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Twenty years on Máchova Street


On 31 August 2000, the Academy´s building in Stráž pod Ralskem was inaugurated. A series of short articles referring to the 20th anniversary is going to be published on our website soon. English version will be available.

Autor: Iva Prudlová
Foto: Michal Čechoň
Jazyková korektura: Renata Hečková, Jiří Kawan

Part 1 – The Building

Can a twenty-year old person and a twenty-year old building be compared? Both are young and developing. Both are members of societies. They both are cared for and caring for others. You may agree that the building needs permanent maintaining to be prevented from an early decay.

The Academy building has had to struggle with various technical problems, such as a sewer systém blockage in 2007 or a very poor conditioning in the auditorium in 2016. Wood windows have been replaced with plastic ones and the facade has been painted. The present state of the building can be considered very good. Of course, there is always a lot to be repaired or improved.

But the building is in service – like us, the Academy staff – and it has proved to be able to embrace 350 persons on one day.

The building itself looks modern and attracts locals as well as tourists passing Máchova Street. When you are in Stráž pod Ralskem, be sure to come and see the building of the Prison Service Academy.

Let us know how you like it.

Autor: Iva Prudlová
Foto: Michal Čechoň
Jazyková korektura: Renata Hečková, Tomáš Olšar

Part 2 – The School Premises

Our series is dedicated to the anniversary the Czech Prison Service Academy celebrates this August Part 1 introduced the school building. Part 2 is going to show you round the school premises.

The campus is rather small. A twenty years old hedge fence frames the school and rails the grounds off the busy cycle-way.

When you come from the town centre and go round the Academy area, the main entrance is on your left. At the moment (May 2020), the entrance is not very attractive, despite of gold forsythia flowers waving at the by passers. In the future, the entrance will get a new shape.
Let´s get further. We are passing a little garden house occupied during short breaks or used for special training.

A few more steps we will find ourselves in a different world. The rear part of the building is adjoining a gorgeous lake Horka. People enjoy summer time here. Our students are shielded from the noise by full-grown trees. I will reveal a secret to you. In summer, nice mushrooms can be found under the trees.

Once we pass the lake we get to the rear entrance. You may see our students drilling behind the fence. In the future, a school canteen will be build there.

You can take the way back to the town centre or you can get attracted by the peaceful surroundings.

We will tell you more about the countryside next time.

Autor: Iva Prudlová
Foto: Michal Čechoň, Iva Prudlová
Jazyková korektura: Renata Hečková, Tomáš Olšar

Part 3 – The Surroundings

In the two previous parts of our series we have introduced the Academy and its premises. Part 3 is devoted to the surroundings that attracts tourists not only from the whole Czech Republic, but also from abroad.

Would you like to take a swim? There is Horka Lake behind the school. The pond belongs to the oldest ones in the Czech lands but it was reconstructed in 2001 – a year after the Academy´s inauguration – and it offers sports and relaxation opportunities. The Ploučnice river with its meanders and the canal through a rock is popular among paddlers.

Do you prefer cycling or roller skating? A nice cycle track passing directly the Academy can take you to the close holiday resorts or to other attractive places. Are you a hiking lover?

Ralsko is a volcano hill (696 m) with a 13th century ruin on the top. There is a wonderful view from the hill when the weather is nice.

To keep yourself healthy, you can have some water from the spa which Saint Zdislava used to curing the locals in the 13th century.

Do not worry if the weather is not very good. There are a lot of castles in the region.

Do you wish to see more countries during one single vacation? Poland and Saxony are just a stone´s throw from Stráž pod Ralskem.

Our course participants use their free time to explore the surroundings. It is maybe time for you to plan your visit of the Liberec region.

In the next part we are going to take you for the Academy tour.

Autor: Iva Prudlová
Foto: Michal Čechoň, Iva Prudlová
Video: Iva Prudlová
Jazyková korektura: Renata Hečková, Tomáš Olšar

Part 4 – The Academy Tour

Empty buildings can be creepy. Let´s get inside the Academy without students and find out how it feels.

If we had a guide like in a castle, s/he may say: Welcome to the Academy. We boast with our own flag and own logo. All visitors have to be registered at the desk. Please, present your ID. We are not in a prison facility, so you can keep your mobile phones and cameras with you.

We are in the middle circular part that connects two two-floor wings.  There is a little canteen and a winter garden. Have a look in our modern auditorium with 90 seats.

Follow me, please. We are entering Wing A now. On the ground floor, there are changing rooms for students, a few offices and a service vehicles garage. Here is a simulation cell and a simulation entrance to guarded areas. The first floor is reserved for theoretical lessons including PC classes. There is also Pedagogy Department Quarters. On the top floor, you can find a library and a permanent exhibition of illegal items confiscated from prisoners in Czech prisons. There are also most of the teachers´ offices.

The top circular part is occupied by Logistics Department. There is also a large PC classroom. Sorry, it is like a labyrinth here. We have to go down to the multifunctional room. The Academy management offices are in the very heart of the centre.

The tour continues on the second floor of Wing B. An attic room with an attached kitchenette is used for specialized courses and for informal meetings of the Academy staff. Examinations take place in two little classrooms. Let´s get down to the first floor. There are two language classrooms, some classrooms for theoretical lessons and Financial Department offices. One more staircase and we find ourselves on the ground floor. DO-JO serves for self-defence training. Next to DO-JO, there is a body building room, changing rooms and showers. The last room you can look in is designed for gun manipulation training.

We are back in the entrance hall. I am ready to answer your questions now.

The guide would say good bye to you now.

Such a tour may take over half an hour. However, you would be absolutely exhausted. So, we invite you to visit a few interesting parts of the Academy in detail. Read our articles that will follow.

We are looking forward to your comments.

Autor: Iva Prudlová

Foto: Iva Prudlová, Michal Čechoň

Jazyková korektura: Renata Hečková, Tomáš Olšar

Part 5 – Simulation Cell

Our Simulation Cell  has been in use since 2000. Its last reconstruction took place in 2016.

The specialized classroom serves for new uniformed staff practical training. It  is divided into two parts – a training part (a cell with standard prison equipment) and a part for the students observing.  students practise techniques, routines and communication with prisoners. They learn about different aspects of security measures in cell-related situations in practice.  They train safe cell entering, intervention strategies using proper means of restraint in a cell and all kinds of searches that can be applied in the cell settings.  Appropriate communication including application of negotiation basics is required when the students are disposed to various simulated stress situations.

The specialized classroom is also used as a demonstration room for new civilian staff (penitentiary specialists and health care professionals). They learn about the cell living space and about tasks the uniformed staff have to perform in the cell.

In the near future, a new building with a number of simulation cells will be opened. We hope to have better conditions for our students´  training.


Part 6 –  Shooting Training

Last time our simulation cell was introduced. Today we would like to invite you to have a look in the room specially equipped for shooting training which is a part of initial courses for new uniformed staff.

Shooting lessons cover both the theory and the practice. The theory includes learning about firearms, ammunition types and ballistics. Practical training – dry drill is focused on development of basic skills such as gun use, safe gun handling, disassembly and reassembly, gun loading and unloading, shooting position,  gun cleaning rules, maintenance and storage. Only safe guns and ammunition are used by the students.

After the students acquire the required skills, they continue their training at the shooting range.

Part 7 – Unauthorized Items Exhibition

The permanent exhibition of unauthorized items confiscated from prisoners was opened in 2008.

The collection was enlarged and the room was refurbished and modernized in 2014.

The collection is divided into several parts, such as weapons (firearms, cutting weapons, stabbing weapons and other improvised weapons), escape preparations, tattoo kits etc.

The exhibition is opened to Academy course participants, elementary and secondary school students, police and customs officers. The number of signatures and thanks in the Visitors´ Book has been increasing.  There are comments written by visitors from Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, Romania, Latvia, France, Germany, Ukraine or Texas. Expert commentary is available to visitors.

Part 8 –  Who are our “ZOP” students

ZOP is an abbreviation formed from initial letters of “Základní odborná příprava”, which can be translated as Initial Training. It is a compulsory programme for all new prison staff or cadets.

Those who apply for a position such as Psychologist, Social Worker or Educator, attend “ZOP B2” course. It is designed to prepare specialists for all aspects of their work, especially for communication with prisoners.

“ZOP A”  is a course designed for uniformed staff. They attend theoretical lessons and practical training to become guards or prison security officers. Some can also be assigned with tasks like transferring prisoners (escorts) or handling dogs (K-9 units). You may not know that also Judicial Guards you see in the buildings of courts or the Ministry of Justice are prison service officers.

Medical staff and support staff spend a week of training in “ZOP B3” and ZOP B1” respectively.

To sum it up, all prison staff members have once attended our “ZOP” courses.