The work of COST Action IS1106 on Offender Supervision in Europe began on 27th March 2012 at a ‘kick-off’ meeting in Brussels and it concludes with the final conference, back in Brussels, on the 11-12th March 2016. This report reflects on the achievements over the course of four years of complex, challenging, creative and highly constructive research collaboration.
The main objective of the Action is to exchange, increase and deepen knowledge about offender supervision in Europe, in order to understand its development in social context, how it is constructed and experienced by those involved and its impacts and consequences.
The central rationale for the work was that offender supervision in Europe has developed rapidly in scale, distribution and intensity in recent years but that the emergence of what we termed ‘mass supervision’ (i.e. in the community) had largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and social scientists more concerned with the ‘mass incarceration’ reflected in prison growth. Argument was that this represented an important analytical lacuna for law and social science. Moreover, the neglect of supervision meant that research had not delivered the knowledge urgently required to engage with political, policy and practice communities grappling with delivering justice efficiently and effectively in fiscally straitened times, and with the challenges of communicating the meaning, legitimacy and utility of supervision to an insecure public.