On the 12th and 13th of February 2019, CEP held its first Expert Meeting with the Expert Group Mental Health in Probation in Valletta, Malta. Participants from nine different countries attended the meeting. All of them gave a presentation about mental health in probation in their own jurisdiction based on six question that were asked in advance. These were about general information, policy and research, training and expertise, treatment, main challenges and plans for the future.
On the first day, CEP Secretary General Willem van der Brugge, held speeches about policies and regulations on Mental Health in prison and probation in Europe and about the treatment of the mental health offenders along history, research, practice and the approach of handle with care.
European probation services nowadays are faced with large numbers of mentally ill people. Research has shown that the prevalence of various mental health problems among probationers is relatively high when compared to the general population. It is important to identify those who are sentenced for other crimes, but possibly have mental health problems. It is also essential that mental health needs of offenders are given a higher priority in terms of service delivery, education, staff straining and research, because working on mental health issues is also a way of reducing crime and especially recidivism.
Through the expert group on mental health in probation we want to:
- Raise awareness about mental health needs of offenders in probation;
- Increase knowledge in dealing with mental health issues in probation;
- Promote co-operation and the exchange of information between national and international organisations and groups that are working in the field of mental health;
- Liaise with state and non-governmental bodies as well as other experts who provide support for rehabilitation;
- Contribute to the training to improve work regarding mental health;
- Be an information resource on mental health in probation for benefit of CEP members and other relevant parties.