The Cooperation to Promote a European Volunteering Programme in Probation Services (CoPPer) project aims to create and improve social models that support the values of European unity and solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It responds to the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 by promoting the active engagement of citizens and civil society as supporters in the social inclusion of offenders and ensuring that we all play our role as key guarantors of a common European culture of the rule of law and democracy. The project will also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights by helping the EC achieving the 3 targets for the EU to be reached by 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals: At least 78% of people aged 20 to 64 should be in employment; At least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year; The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million. Reducing crime recidivism is a joint responsibility across several sectors and levels: the correctional services, civil society organisations, universities, and even the community, in general, should be able to coordinate efforts to promote crime resistance. This project starts on the 1st of December 2022 and ends on the 1st of December 2025.

CoPPer’s main idea is to increase community participation as a vital element that can enhance the work of probation staff in supporting these often low-qualified adults to pursue education, training and employment opportunities once outside prison or while serving community sanctions. The project proposes to train volunteers in the community to provide informal support, advice and guidance to probationers. They can act as a stepping stone for the probationers’ social reintegration by motivating them for behaviour change, helping them enhance their competencies, access to adult education opportunities, look for a job, or just represent a pro-social model. Criminal justice systems (CJS) have a complex mission: rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders. In the pursuit of their mission, the CJS should be knowledgeable and open to the importance of partnerships and inter-agency cooperation with community-based organisations (UNODC, 2012). This priority responds to the CoE’s Guidelines (2019) on recruitment, selection, education, training and professional development of prison and probation staff, to the CoE’ Probation Rules (2010), and the Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)3 on the European Rules on community sanctions & measures. The Tokyo Rules encourage public participation in community-based interventions, stressing the importance of the role of volunteers in boosting “offenders and their families to develop meaningful ties with the community and a broader sphere of contact by providing counseling and other appropriate forms of assistance according to their capacity and the offenders’ needs” (rule 19.2). Also it responds to the 2021-2024 European judicial training strategy, promoting cross-border network, participation in training and upscaling the digitalisation of justice (through blended-learning training).

Partner organisations

  • Confederation of European Probation, NL
  • APROXIMAR- COOPERATIVA DE SOLIDARIEDADE SOCIAL, PT
  • DIRECAO-GERAL DE REINSERCAO E SERVICOS PRISIONAIS, PT
  • Stichting Reclassering Nederland, NL
  • The Probation Service, Department of Justice, IE
  • UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK -NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, CORK, IE
  • European Strategies Consulting, RO
  • Center for crime prevention and after incarceration care -NEOSTART, RS

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