On 14 to 15 June 2012, an international group with representatives from the prison and probation sector met in Bucharest for the conference “Developments in Prison and Probation in Europe: joint challenges, joint solutions”. The conference was a cooperation between ICPA, Europris and CEP. Iuliana Carbunaru was willing to answer a couple of questions for CEP, she is head of Probation services in Romania, the organisation that hosted the event together with the National Administration of Prisons. What was it like to host this event? How were the discussions? What else can we expect?
It was the first time that ICPA, EuroPris and CEP liaised directly to organize a conference, how did the Romanian Prison and Probation Department get involved?
“The Romanian Prison Administration works continuously within the ICPA framework, a representative of the Prison Administration is also a member of EuroPris and was one of the partners of the coordination committee for this conference. Also taking into account that the Romanian Probation Service is a member of CEP since 1999, the cooperation was a logical step. Having this premiere of a joint event was an unexpected gift for our service but in my view a well deserved gift and a signal that we are a mature probation service.”
What was it like to host this event?
“I can summarise the experience in 3 words – responsibility, excitement and challenge. Taking into account the limited time we had, only 6 months, it was our responsibility as a host and a challenge to get it done. To my knowledge we managed in record time! We had 5 different organisations involved in the organisation: ICPA, CEP, EuroPris, Romanian Prison Administration, Romanian Probation Department, each in a different location but we had identified our common priorities and in my opinion an excellent way of working together. I must recognise especially the experience of ICPA in hosting this type of events.”
Was there a remarkable presentation or discussion?
“I can’t mention just one because within the program committee of this conference we had established a balanced agenda in order to reflect the interests and priorities of the prison specialists, probation staff and their common issues. Every speaker added to the success of this conference. I was very pleased to hear and to observe the dynamic of the participants, who were from North America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. I was particularly proud to see the dedication and the professionalism of some colleagues from Romania, which contributed in workshops and plenary sessions.”
What was the feedback from the participants?
“As a host of the conference, perhaps it is not modest to say that the event was a success, but I think it really was. Also because my assessment is based on the feedback from participants: They appreciated the quality of the presentations, the dynamic of the discussions around them and the informal relations established between them during the breaks. We have received many congratulations regarding the smooth organisation, the result of a good mixture of planning, experience, motivation and enthusiasm.”
Looking back to this unique and joint experience and having the participant’s feedback, what is your opinion about similar events to be organised in the future?
“There is no doubt about the advantage of a joint conference because it offers a framework for discussion among probation and prison staff. In practice they meet often and work together, but don’t have the time to discuss and to share opinions and reflections. Therefore, since the occasions for such meetings are rare and because there remain many interesting issues to share, I can definitely say that it is necessary to have similar events in the future and why not again in Bucharest?”
Where can we find documents and results from the conference?
“I encourage colleagues interested in our event to access the ICPA website. I am sure they will find documents in their area of interest.”