The EU Framework Decisions on the transfer of probation sanctions and the transfer of alternatives to pre-trial detention should have been implemented by all EU Member States by the end of 2011 and 2012 respectively. However, fact is that still not all Member States have implemented these and only little use is made of these transfer mechanisms. As CEP recognizes their value for the development of the European probation sector, the Framework Decisions will have a prominent place in CEP’s annual plans 2016 and 2017.
In order to explore how CEP could enhance best the implementation and application of Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA (on the transfer of probation sanctions) and 2009/829/JHA (on transfer of alternatives to pre-trial detention) CEP organised an expert meeting in Brussels. “We have invited a group 15 people consisting of practitioners, researchers, prosecutors, a judge and other experts”, says Gerry McNally, Board Member of CEP. At the first day of the meeting the discussions were structured around different themes, for instance ‘to what extent do the Framework Decisions contribute to improved rehabilitation of the offender’, ‘how trusted are the Framework Decisions as a legal instrument’ or ‘best practices in transfers under Framework Decisions’. On the second day, the delegates discussed how the implementation and the application of these Framework Decisions could be supported best, and what the role of CEP could be in this process.
“This expert meeting was very helpful for shaping our actions for the years to come in the field of the Framework Decisions”, comments Gerry McNally. “The European Commission, EU agencies, agents on a national level and organisations like CEP have taken many initiatives to support the implementation of the Framework Decisions. However, there is little coordination between these. Therefore information is dispersed and sometimes hard to find. Even CEP learned about initiatives from which it had never heard before, like the excellent website of the European Judicial network, that gives an up to date overview of the legal implementation of Framework Decisions 2008/947/JHA, 2009/829/JHA and others. It is one of the aims of CEP to offer all information in a more structured way.”
One of the clear outcomes of the meeting was that there is great need for more contact between practitioners that work with the Framework Decisions. “In addition, the European Commission confirmed that it values practitioner networks”, adds Gerry McNally. “It made sense to CEP as a network organisation to act as an incubator for more specialized networks within probation, e.g. practitioner networks. Therefore we included in our annual plan for 2016 the organisation of an EU-wide practitioner meeting in Brussels. We are thinking about a meeting with plenary sessions and with workshops in which delegates form different countries can discuss concrete transfer cases in order to find solutions for obstacles that they encounter in practice.”
Another outcome of the expert meeting is that CEP will closely collaborate with the Fair Trails Europe on the field of Framework Decisions 2009/829/JHA. “For some judges the benefits of this Framework Decision are not that obvious”, explains Gerry McNally. “That is one of the reasons why, to our knowledge, no transfers have taken place under this regulation. The contacts that Fair Trails Europe has with defense lawyer and prosecutor networks could definitely add to our networks of practitioner network. But this expert meeting gave us many other ideas that we can execute in 2016 and 2017. For instance organising a research into the effectiveness of the transfer of probation sanctions for the rehabilitation of offenders. We could possibly do that in the shape of a European project. We still have to think a little more about our actions for the coming years, but for sure the Framework Decisions are a priority of CEP.”
Click here to read the report of the CEP expert meeting Enhancing the Implementation of Framework Decisions 2008/JHA/947 & 2009/JHA/829