As a part of its strategy to enhance the implementation and application of the Framework Decisions on the transfer of probation sanctions and the transfer of alternatives to pre-trial detention, CEP launched the idea to give special attention to European regulations in probation in the European curriculum Criminal Justice Social Work. “In this way the Framework Decisions would get a fixed place in the education of Social Work students that want to work in probation”, clarifies Ioan Durnescu, Professor at the University of Bucharest and Board member of CEP.

Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) is the name of a European project started on the initiative of Avans University of Applied Sciences. Nine European universities and educational institutes and four criminal justice organisations from six different countries designed a curriculum that can be used all over Europe for the education of students that want to work in probation.

As the delegate form the University of Bucharest, and as a Board Member of CEP, Ioan Durnescu holds a special place in CJSW. “The curriculum consists of several modules that treat essential topics that every probation worker should know in order to build up a career in Europe. Each module can be adapted to the needs of the national context, but the core teaching is the same in every European country. In this way, CJSW contributes both to the Europeanization of probation as to greater mobility for probation workers if they want to work in other European countries.”

In the modules that were delivered a the end of the project in 2014, the European Framework Decisions 2008/947/JHA (on the transfer of probation sanctions) and 2009/829/JHA (on transfer of alternatives to pre-trial detention.

were mentioned in one of the modules, but they were not treated extensively. “As the Framework Decisions as well as other European and international regulations will play an increasingly important role in probation in national contexts, we should integrate these in our curriculum”, says Ioan Durnescu.

Therefore CEP organised an expert meeting with the developers of the CJSW curriculum in Brussels, on 28th August. “We discussed if we could add the Framework Decisions to the existing modules”, tells Ioan Durnescu. “However, we came to the conclusion that it would better to design a special module on European and international regulations in probation, in which the EU Framework Decisions obviously take a prominent place.”

“The designing a new module is quite a job”, he continues. “It is not something that can be done next to our regular jobs. Therefore we resolved to apply for European funding to create such a module and further improve our curriculum. In fact, this could be a model to develop other new modules for CSJW, for example on Practical Skills, Practice Care, Youth Probation, Sex Offenders or Domestic Violence.”

The partners also discussed how CJSW could be expanded to other countries that were not represented in the project. “This would definitely contribute to the success of this European project. At the expert meeting the project partners committed to actively promote CJSW at universities and educational institutions abroad with which they have good contacts. In conclusion I would say that it was very good to see that all project partners are so motivated to bring CJSW forward, even though the project has finished for almost a year now. And I am sure that CEP will play an active role in the future development of CJSW.”

Click here to read the report of the CEP expert meeting Enhancing Criminal Justice Social Work by integrating EU regulations.


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