The final conference of the JCN (Justice Cooperation Network) European project on the treatment and transition management of high risk offenders was held in Rostock-Warnemünde (Germany) between 3rd – 5th September 2014 with over 400 hundred delegates from 34 countries in attendance.  A recap by CEP board member Gerry McNally.

The JCN Justice Co-operation Network project partners, Ireland, Finland, Estonia and Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania (Germany), have been working since 2012 to develop a European network and best practice ‎in the ‎‎transition management and supervision of high risk prisoners leaving custody. ‎ The JCN European project was funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Criminal Justice Programme.

The Conference provided an important and exciting opportunity for sharing knowledge and expertise developed in the work of the project, promote best practice through shared learning, host expert speakers and workshops on key issues and provide an opportunity to develop relevant links and networks across Europe and beyond.

The Conference venue, Yachting & Spa Resort Hohe Düne, Rostock-Warnemünde provided an exceptionally fine and well appointed location as well as excellent accommodation and resources for the very large international Conference. The conference administration was managed most efficiently and courteously by Department of Prison and Probation Administration of Ministry of Justice, Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania.

Ireland was represented at the Conference by delegates from the Probation Service, Irish Prison Service, Department of Justice and Justice and Equality, Dublin Institute of Technology, PACE, IASIO, ACJRD, IPRT among others.

Vivian Geiran, Director of the Probation Service, Dr. Mary Rogan, Lecturer in in Socio-Legal Studies, DIT and Chairperson of the Irish Penal Reform Trust, and Paddy Richardson, CEO of IASO at the JCN Conference.

The conference opened with addresses by the Minister for Justice in Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania and the Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Justice followed by speakers from the EU Commission, the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and Europris. Jörg Jesse, Director General of the Department of Prison and Probation Administration, in Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania provided an entertaining overview of the work of the JCN project since 2012.

Thursday morning featured stimulating  presentations by Jörg Ziercke (Germany) on victim issues,  Dr. Stephen Farrall (UK) on his work on Long-term Effects of Probation Supervision and Marianne Vollan (Norway) describing the innovative Norwegian approach in working with high risk offenders.

Thursday afternoon provided the opportunity for presentations from the four working groups in the project followed by four related workshops with three presentations by experts in each on valuable initiatives and work practices identified in the course of the project followed by invigorating and lively discussion on the project findings and proposals.

Sally Lewis, former Chief Probation Officer, Avon and Somerset Probation Trust, presenting the Bristol Integrated Offender Management Approach with Dangerous Offenders in the Conference workshop on transition management and release.

On Friday morning there were presentations to the plenary conference of reports from each of the workshops. The Conference concluded with a series of thought-provoking reflections on the Conference, the work of the JCN and prisoner issues by Dr. Mary Rogan (Ireland), Beate Lakotta (Der Spiegel, Germany) and Elisabeth Kotthaus (EU in Germany).

Jörg Jesse, on behalf of the JCN project teams and the Conference hosts closed thanking delegates and presenters for their attendance and valuable contribution to what was a highly successful and valuable event which had brought together experts and service providers from an exceptionally large number of countries and provided tangible outputs and learning for all.

The Conference has brought to a conclusion the work of the JCN (Justice Cooperation Network) European project on the treatment and transition management of high risk offenders.

The JCN project has been a significant success in developing the framework for a European network, identifying best practice models and establishing key standards in the transition management, supervision and resettlement of high risk offenders.

Through the Conference and the work of the project teams much has been achieved but much more remains to be pursued in disseminating and implementing the lessons and key actions from JCN project and in developing practice further. The JCN project has shown the significant progress that can be achieved and promoted in transnational European co-operation and shared learning. We can all work together and hope that ongoing development can be continued similarly into the future.

 The full Conference programme as well as all the papers and presentations at the JCN Conference will be published shortly on the JCN website at: http://jcn.pixel-online.org/index.php


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