State Probation Service of Latvia (SPS) is close to finishing an important project – the Erasmus+ project “Explore Your Potential”. SPS is implementing it together with the Romanian non-governmental organization Asociatia idei si proiecte pentru tineri activi (IPTA) and the Spanish non-governmental organization RED EUROPEA LOS JOVENES IMPORTAN AHOR. The overall duration of the project was 28 months, and now the collaboration that lasted more than two years is coming to its conclusion.


The focal point of this project is non-formal learning and its integration into working with probation clients aged 21-30. The goals include both a comprehensive manual of approaches and methods for the prevention of substance abuse and violent behavior, as well as specialists trained in the application of these methods. Thus, the transferability and sustainability of project results will be ensured.

One of the primary objectives of this project, which started at the beginning of 2021, was to foster closer ties between Latvian probation services and NGOs operating in the field of criminal justice and social integration. By leveraging the expertise and resources of these organizations, the project aimed to strengthen support mechanisms for youth under probation and promote their successful reintegration into society. Therefore, this project for SPS marks a significant milestone in cross-border collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) aimed at enhancing probation services in Latvia.

Project results

Over the course of its implementation, the project facilitated knowledge-sharing, capacity-building, and the development of innovative practices within Latvian probation services. This was achieved through a series of workshops, training sessions, and collaborative initiatives designed to enhance the skills of probation officers and equip them with effective tools for working with youth within the criminal justice system. Overall, there were five transnational meetings organized in three countries, and two training courses for probation youth specialists were conducted.

As the project draws to a close on 30th of April, its impact will continue to resonate within Latvian probation services and the broader criminal justice landscape. It will be important to other Latvian organizations working with youth as well. In order to provide dissemination of the project results, on April 12th, SPS organized a seminar for its partners from NGOs and other organizations working with youth. During this event, the handbook of non-formal learning methods was presented and handed over to participants.

Project aftermath

The handbook developed in the “Explore your potential” project will be integrated into probation work to enhance offender rehabilitation strategies and support effective reintegration into society. Looking ahead, the project’s legacy will be sustained through the planning of new initiatives and collaborations aimed at further advancing probation services and community-based interventions. Krista Skara (Head of Probation Programs Department, The State Probation Service of Latvia), acknowledges: This project has been a real adventure for us – offering new ideas and ways to help young people better integrate into society. Our cooperation with NGOs from other countries has expanded our knowledge and skills, helped us to find new collaborators and friends.

>>Learn more about the project.

You can find more about the project on the “Explore Your Potential” Facebook page.

The project is co-financed by the European Union from the funds of the “Erasmus+” program.

This article was written by Jānis Nicmanis (Leading expert of the Performance Analysis and Development Department at State Probation Service of Latvia).

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