CEP interviewed its newest member, The Ministry of Justice. In this interview, the new member organisations shares why they decided to become members, how they would like to contribute to the development of CEP and many more. Enjoy reading!


The Ministry of Justice in Poland (Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości) is an auxiliary office of the Minister of Justice, the chief organ of government administration responsible for the government administration sector of justice. The Minister of Justice, by virtue of the Constitution, is a member of the National Council of the Judiciary.

The Ministry of Justice and the entities supervised by or subordinate to the Minister of Justice ensure the highest standards of service to the Minister of Justice in the implementation of statutory tasks in the area defined by the government administration sector – ‘justice’, as specified in Article 24 in fine of the Act of September 4, 1997, on government administration sectors and continuously increase the effectiveness of their tasks in all matters important for the future and development of the broadly understood Polish justice system.

The Minister of Justice exercises external administrative supervision over the activities of court probation officers, within which:

  • establishes general directions for internal administrative supervision exercised by the presidents of appellate courts,
  • monitors the fulfilment of supervisory duties by the presidents of appellate and regional courts,
  • analyzes statistical information regarding the activities of court probation officers,
  • organizes supervisory meetings for regional probation officers,
  • issues supervisory orders.
Michał Chrościelewski, Expert at the Department of Enforcement of Judgements and Probation at the Ministry of Justice – Tomasz Gajewski, Deputy Director of the Department of Strategy and European Funds at the Ministry of Justice – Jana Spero, CEP Secretary General – Maria Ejchart, Deputy Minister of Justice – Dariusz Palmirski, Chairman of the National Board of Probation Officers – Krzysztof Mycka, Deputy Director of the Department of Enforcement of Judgements and Probation at the Ministry of Justice


Why did your organisation decide to join CEP? 

The Ministry of Justice in Poland recognizes the paramount importance of international cooperation in the field of probation and is eager to contribute to and benefit from the collective wisdom and experience within the CEP. The acceptance of the Ministry of Justice as a member of the organization is part of the process of restoring the rule of law in Poland and professionalizes the activities of the judiciary.

Poland’s commitment to enhancing its probation system is evident in our holistic approach to justice and rehabilitation. The Ministry of Justice in Poland has been developing and implementing progressive probation activities designed to reduce recidivism, facilitate social reintegration, and ensure the safety of our communities. Our strategies encompass a wide range of measures, including but not limited to, tailored rehabilitation programs, community service initiatives, electronic monitoring, and specialized training for probation officers.

Furthermore, we have placed a strong emphasis on research and development within the field of probation, investing in evidence-based practices and technologies that advance our capabilities in monitoring and supporting individuals under probation. Our efforts are complemented by our collaboration with local communities, NGOs, and other stakeholders, fostering a multidisciplinary approach to probation that leverages the strengths and resources of a broad network of partners.

Our desire to join the Confederation of European Probation stems from a recognition of the value of sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices on an international platform. We believe that membership in the CEP will not only enhance our own probation services but also contribute to the collective effort to improve probation systems across Europe.

How do you envision contributing to the development of CEP, its projects, actions, and work programme?

The Polish Ministry of Justice can envision contributing to the development of the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) in several impactful ways. These contributions would be rooted in Poland’s experiences and innovations in probation services, aiming to enhance the broader European landscape of probation.

  1. Sharing Expertise and Best Practices: The Polish Ministry of Justice has developed a range of effective probation practices, including community service programs, rehabilitation initiatives, and electronic monitoring systems. By sharing these practices with CEP, Poland can help other countries adapt and implement similar strategies, thus improving their probation systems.
  2. Collaborative Research and Development: Poland can contribute to joint research projects focused on understanding and improving probation outcomes. This includes participating in studies to measure the effectiveness of different probation models and sharing data and findings with CEP members.
  3. Training and Capacity Building: The Ministry can offer to host and participate in training programs for probation officers across Europe. By sharing its curriculum and training modules, Poland can help elevate the skills and knowledge of probation professionals within CEP.
  4. Technology Integration: With Poland’s experience in using technology like electronic monitoring and data analytics in probation services, the Ministry can help guide CEP’s initiatives in integrating modern technologies into probation practices across member countries.
  5. Networking and Partnerships: The Ministry can facilitate stronger connections and partnerships among CEP members by organizing conferences, workshops, and forums where members can exchange ideas, challenges, and solutions. This would foster a more cohesive and collaborative European probation community.
  6. Support for Vulnerable Populations: Poland can contribute to CEP’s work on probation approaches tailored to vulnerable groups, such as juveniles or individuals with mental health issues. Sharing specialized programs and approaches can enhance the capacity of CEP members to deal with diverse and challenging cases.

By articulating these contributions, the Polish Ministry of Justice would demonstrate its commitment to not only enhancing its own probation services but also to play a significant role in advancing the goals and work of the Confederation of European Probation.

What are the main priorities, topics, or themes you would like CEP to address more frequently, and how would you leverage your knowledge to support and participate in developing its actions and work programme? 

We might identify several priorities, topics, or themes it wishes the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) to address more frequently. Here’s how the Ministry might outline these priorities and envision leveraging its knowledge to support and participate in developing CEP’s actions and work programme:

  1. Integration of Technology in Probation Services: Poland has been pioneering in integrating technology such as electronic monitoring and data analytics in probation practices. The Ministry would encourage CEP to focus more on how technology can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of probation services across Europe. Poland could share its experiences, contribute to the development of guidelines and best practices, and participate in pilot projects to demonstrate new technologies.
  2. Tailored Approaches for Vulnerable Groups: Recognizing the unique needs of juveniles, individuals with mental health issues, and other vulnerable populations in the probation system, the Ministry would urge CEP to prioritize these groups.
  3. Evidence-Based Practices and Outcomes Measurement: The Ministry would advocate for a stronger focus on evidence-based practices and the systematic measurement of outcomes in probation. Poland can participate in cross-national research initiatives to gather and analyze data.
  4. Capacity Building and Professional Development: To ensure a high standard of probation services across Europe, the Ministry would like CEP to enhance its focus on training and professional development. Poland could host workshops and seminars, and help develop a comprehensive training program for probation officers under the auspices of CEP.
  5. Community Involvement and Restorative Justice: The Ministry believes in the power of community involvement and restorative justice principles in the probation process. Poland would encourage CEP to promote these themes and offer to share its successful models of community partnership and restorative practices. This could include developing collaborative projects and facilitating exchanges between member countries.
  6. Legislative Harmonization and Policy Advocacy: To achieve a more uniform approach to probation across Europe, the Ministry would like CEP to work on legislative harmonization. Poland can leverage its legislative experience to contribute to the drafting of common guidelines and standards, participate in policy forums, and help advocate for the adoption of these standards at the European level.
  7. Crisis Response and Resilience: Recognizing the need for probation systems to be adaptable in times of crisis (such as pandemics or social unrest), the Ministry would want CEP to focus on developing resilience in probation services.

By emphasizing these priorities and offering its expertise and resources, the Polish Ministry of Justice would be actively engaging in and shaping the future work of the Confederation of European Probation, ensuring that the probation services across Europe are progressive, effective, and responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

Why do you think it is so important to promote alternative sanctions and measures and what is the state of play in your country in this?

Promoting alternative sanctions and measures is crucial for several reasons, and the Polish Ministry of Justice would likely emphasize these in its engagement with the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) and other stakeholders. Here are the key reasons for this importance:

  1. Reducing Overcrowding in Prisons: Alternative sanctions and measures help reduce prison overcrowding by offering non-custodial options for offenders, particularly those convicted of less serious crimes. This alleviates pressure on the prison system and allows for better allocation of resources to more dangerous offenders.
  2. Rehabilitation and Reintegration: Alternative sanctions often focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Measures like community service, probation, or treatment programs address the underlying issues that may lead to criminal behaviour, such as substance abuse or lack of employment skills. This approach enhances the chances of successful reintegration into society.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Many alternative sanctions are more cost-effective than incarceration. They reduce the financial burden on the justice system by avoiding the high costs associated with maintaining individuals in prison.
  4. Minimizing Social Disruption: Incarceration can lead to significant social and familial disruption, affecting not only the offenders but also their families and communities. Alternative measures can mitigate these effects by allowing individuals to maintain their roles in their families and communities while serving their sentences.
  5. Restorative Justice: Some alternative sanctions, like mediation and restorative justice programs, involve victims and aim to repair the harm caused by the crime. This can lead to more meaningful resolutions and greater satisfaction for victims while fostering accountability in offenders.

In Poland, the state of play regarding alternative sanctions and measures reflects a growing recognition of these benefits:

  • Legal Framework: Polish law provides for various alternative sanctions, including fines, probation, community service, and electronic monitoring. These options are increasingly used for minor offences and to complement other forms of rehabilitation.
  • Probation Services: The Polish probation system offers a range of services aimed at supporting offenders in their rehabilitation efforts. This includes supervision, counselling, vocational training, and assistance in finding employment.
  • Electronic Monitoring: Poland has embraced technology in probation, particularly through the use of electronic monitoring. This has proven effective in ensuring compliance with the terms of probation while allowing offenders to remain in their communities.
  • Restorative Justice Programs: There is a growing interest in restorative justice in Poland, with pilot programs and initiatives aimed at involving victims and communities in the justice process to achieve more holistic resolutions.
  • Research and Development: Poland is investing in research to assess the effectiveness of alternative sanctions and to refine these approaches based on evidence. This helps ensure that the policies and practices are aligned with the best outcomes for offenders, victims, and society at large.

By highlighting these aspects, the Polish Ministry of Justice can demonstrate its commitment to progressive, effective justice solutions and contribute to broader European discussions on the importance and implementation of alternative sanctions and measures.

more info go to: https://www.gov.pl/web/justice


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