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Probation and Prison: Co-operation to Reduce Recidivism

NCJ Number
Anna Arola; Kimmo Hypen; Maija Kukkonen; Gunilla Nilsson; Tiina Vogt-Airaksinen
Date Published
22 pages
This document reports on the proceedings of a workshop held in Helsinki, Finland on October 17-18, 2002, on probation and prison services to reduce recidivism.
Social reintegration and supervision in Romania include the elaboration of evaluation reports at the request of bodies for criminal pursuit and of law courts; the supervision of condemned persons in the community; and assistance and counseling. The intervention sphere of these services is highly limited. In Hungary, the goal is to raise the professional standards and effectiveness of service delivery; to help the local Probation Services to operate according to consistent national aims and standards; to achieve measurable activity; clear responsibility and accountability; to increase the effectiveness of management; and to increase confidence in alternative sanctions. In an effort to reduce recidivism in the Netherlands, the improvement of cooperation between the Probation Service and the Prison Administration is sought. In England and Wales, the crime reduction potential of effective work on resettlement is significant. The Probation and Welfare Services of Ireland provide a probation work and related service to the courts and a welfare service to the prisons and places of detention. The challenges in Finland involve increasing pressures for crime policy to be made in a more knowledge-based manner. Sweden is trying to reduce recidivism by 5 percent in 5 years. Various steps are needed to reach that vision, including sentence planning in prison, electronic monitoring, motivational interviewing, national programs, and referral to treatment. Group discussions were held on the experiences of participating countries regarding probation and prison. The cooperation between probation and prison is successful because there is more integrated policy and strategy, the policy of inclusion gives ownership to joint objectives, the good exchange of information, leadership gives the same message, and joint assessment planning and programs. The problems that have been encountered are different cultural backgrounds, opportunities for mistrust and misunderstandings, proper resources, political pressures, no systematic evaluation, rivalry and competition of resources, and the complex relationship of working together.