There is many information and research on probation available on the internet nowadays. This can make it difficult to attract readers. The Swiss Probation Service, Schweizerisches Ausbildungszentrum für das Strafvollzugspersonal (SAZ), has created an innovative way of telling their stories. In October 2017, they have published their fourth interactive and multimedia dossier, Probation Works. Laura von Mandach tells us about the criminal justice dossiers they have created. 

She and her colleagues came up with the idea of publishing their content in an interactive and multimedia design when they started filming sequences of their events. Those short movies ended up getting more views than the interviews that were published in text. “That is how the idea to combine different forms of information was born.” Their first dossier was about transition management. “The thematic dossier on transition management has an introduction written by Ineke Pruin, working as a professor at the University of Berne (transition management is the subject of her postdoc thesis). It also gathers short texts and eleven video interviews with practitioners from different European jurisdictions presenting specific initiatives aiming to achieve sustainable, professional and social reintegration of offenders, right from the beginning of their sentence.”

Form follows function

The main objective from the SAZ is to promote good practices in the criminal justice field by publishing their stories in this innovative design. “We identify a key subject, we gather relevant information about it, we organise a meeting to discuss the subject and in parallel we think about how to present our findings. We are very lucky to have a designer in our team, Jonas Schaller. We also translate everything internally. Only the programming is done by a small business in Fribourg.”


Four thematic dossiers are published in this form this far, Laura von Mandach says there are possibilities of doing more in the future. “Each of them is the result of intense cooperation. The first one was about transition management. The second one is on vulnerabilities in prison, done with Jean-Sebastien Blanc from the Association of the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Nicolas Queloz, professor at the University of Fribourg. Last year we published a dossier on the profession “prison officer”, this was the most popular one. Two weeks ago, mid October, we published Probation Works, the texts are written by the CEP and published as a book. We may continue to produce new content in this or in another innovative form, but we will need key content and the right people to join us first! ”

You can find the SAZ dossiers here.

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