The Criminal Justice Platform Europe and the workshop leaders are busy with preparing the third edition of the International Summer Course with the theme: ‘Criminal Justice in a Polarised Society’. The Summer Course will be a combination of workshops, plenary sessions and field visits bringing together participants with a background in prison, probation and restorative justice from a variety of European countries. What are the differences between this edition and the one from last year and what can the participants expect from the workshops? An interview with workshop leader Ioan Durnescu.
What does the topic ‘Criminal Justice in a Polarised society mean?
The 3rd International Summer Course is about radicalisation, just like last year. The difference is we will take it to a whole other level. We are not only looking at the violent extremist offender from an individual perspective, but also look at interventions that include the family, community and the whole society as main actors. The focus is on the individual in the context.
What can participants expect from your workshop ‘Doing social inclusion in a polarised society’?
The workshop will be more practical this edition. Last year, we discussed interventions that are used in different European countries. In the 3rd edition of the CJPE International Summercourse the participants get the chance to experience two different programmes from the point of view of a violent extremist offender. They will look at the programmes from a another dimension than in their day-to-day life as a practitioner.
We will try to provide opportunities for participants to develop concrete skills for working with violent extremist offenders. That is why we will have a session about building-up a working alliance with these offenders. We will discuss this type of clients, clarify the roles and talk about the techniques that actually help correctional staff to enhance their skills.
Are these skills different from the skills you need when you work with other types of clients?
In terms of building-up a relationship, the skills are pretty much the same. The difference is that they are used in a different way. We expect more resistance, ambivalence and other difficulties with this specific group of clients.
Will there also be interaction and knowledge exchange between the other workshops?
Yes, this will be another difference from last year. On the third day of the Summer Course we are going to have workshops in which summary workshop sessions will be held. People from another workshop will be able to attend a session that will explain and describe what we have done in our own workshop. Participants from our workshop will be able to see what the participants from other workshops have done. They will be able to attend both the sessions from the workshops that they did not attend in the first two days.
Why do practitioners need to apply for the CJPE International Summer Course?
I would say this workshop will really help enhancing their daily practice. We tried to work on topics that are directly related to what they have to do in prison or what they have to do in the probation service, working with this group. It is less theoretical and much more practical orientated this time. That is what we learned from the Summer Course last year. Practitioners need exercises and techniques that they can bring home and use the day after. And that is what we will provide this time.