Report of the conference on RJ and Probation

Conference on Restorative Justice and Probation

On 23-25 September 2015 the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and the Czech Probation and Mediation Service hosted a conference on Restorative Justice and Probation in the beautiful city of Prague. Around 75 delegates from 25 countries in Europe and beyond participated in the plenary sessions and workshops. All plenary and workshop presentations are now available online.

The event celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Czech Probation and Mediation Service. It focused on the question how probation can integrate more systematically the victim’s and the community perspective in its work, in the daily meetings with clients, by setting up restorative justice practices or by referring to other organisations providing RJ. CEP considers, as many national probation services do, that the 2012 EU Victims’ Directive is a strong incentive for moving in this direction. This development is also supported by the 2010 Council of Europe European Probation Rules. The theme was especially fitted in the Czech context, as the Probation and Mediation Service has developed from the start, besides the more classical client work, a mediation department and more recently victim support activities. The title of the conference was ‘Restorative Justice in probation practice: strategic steps, making the footprint’.

The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) participated in the programme committee preparing the conference and provided several plenary speeches. Katrien Lauwaert, senior researcher at the EFRJ, analysed European policy making at the crossroads of probation, restorative justice and victims of crime. Annemieke Wolthuis, vice-chair of the EFRJ, presented a European project on restorative justice practices in case of domestic violence offenders. Ivo Aertsen, former chair of the EFRJ, presented on the role of the community in probation and restorative justice. He referred to the project ALTERNATIVE on conflict resolution in intercultural settings, in which the EFRJ is a partner.

The presenters and participants were all professionals who are very knowledgeable about the field of probation and/or restorative justice in their own country, and this led to very fruitful and inspiring exchanges. All the presentations are made available on the website of CEP.

Katrien Lauwaert

1 October 2015