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EU: Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová ahead of the Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitar

Statement, 22 August 2019, Brussels

“Every 23 August, we honour the memory of the millions of victims of all totalitarian regimes. 

The signature of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on this day in 1939 opened a dark chapter in European history. A time during which citizens were neither free to make their own decisions nor had a say on political choices. A Europe in which freedom and democracy were not more than a dream. 

Tens of millions of victims were deported, tortured and murdered under totalitarian regimes in Europe. Because of this cruelty, lack of freedom and disrespect for fundamental rights, in parts of Europe several generations never had the chance to enjoy freedom and democracy.

 This year we also mark the 30 years of events in 1989 when citizens of Central and Eastern Europe stood up and broke through the Iron Curtain and accelerated its fall.   The courageous actions of citizens brought back freedom and democracy to all of Europe. 

They helped overcome divisions and unify Europe. This then is a collective European legacy that we all must cherish, nourish, and defend. 

80 years have now passed since 1939 and the generation that has witnessed the scourge of totalitarianism is almost no longer with us; living history is turning into written history. We must therefore keep those memories alive to inspire and guide new generations in defending fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy. It is what makes us who we are.  We firmly stand together against totalitarian and authoritarian regimes of all kinds. A Free Europe is not a given but a choice, every day.”


On 23 August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact which divided Central and Eastern Europe and lead to the violation of fundamental rights for tens of millions of people during one of the darkest periods of our continent's history. Even after the end of World War II, many Europeans continued for decades to suffer under totalitarian regimes.

The Baltic Way demonstration took place on 23 August 1989, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The Baltic citizens formed a 600 kilometre human chain all the way through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It was a peaceful demonstration that united the three countries in their drive for freedom.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic, a peace demonstration event that took place on 19 August 1989 in Sopron, a city near Hungary's border with Austria. Citizens gathered around the border fence to show solidarity and friendship in an event organised by the authorities of both countries. The Pan-European Picnic is one of the events on 1989 that paved the way to unification and the end of the Iron Curtain. 

For More Information

Video: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on our common values


[Register for Webinar] The Behavioral Health Needs Framework and Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans



[Register for Webinar] The Behavioral Health Needs Framework and Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans


Hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance


Date: Wednesday, Sept. 4
Time: 2–3:30 p.m. ET




Jurisdictions across the country face challenges to developing case plans that balance criminogenic and behavioral health needs. In response, The Council of State Governments Justice Center developed the web-based Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans tool, which builds upon Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision, a systems-planning framework for prioritizing supervision and treatment services. This webinar will highlight two jurisdictions—the State of Oklahoma and Douglas County, Nebraska—and explain how they used Collaborative Comprehensive Case Plans to enhance their case planning processes and promote recovery, successful diversion from the criminal justice system to treatment, or reentry to the community among their participants. There will be time for questions at the end of the webinar.




This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.


Copyright © 2019 The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Now available on Public Safety Canada’s website: Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical

2018 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview

This document provides a statistical overview of corrections and conditional release within a context of trends in crime and criminal justice.




2018 Aperçu statistique: Le système correctionnel et la mise en liberté sous condition

Le présent document donne un aperçu statistique du système correctionnel et du régime de mise en liberté sous condition.

Online Course: Ten Steps to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism

The American Probation and Parole Association has released an online course designed in partnership with the National Reentry Resource Center. Based on The Council of State Governments Justice Center publication A Ten-Step Guide to Transforming Probation Departments to Reduce Recidivism, the course provides a ten-step action plan to help a probation department visualize transformation of its practices from beginning to end, and to align it with the four practices of recidivism reduction.

This course is meant for managers at probation departments who are leading change efforts and already committed to recidivism reduction. It is designed to help leaders gain a better understanding of how to move their agencies through the transformation process more effectively. By the conclusion of the lessons, course-takers should be able to:

  • List the ten steps of the transformation process
  • Identify key stakeholders in the probation department’s transformation process
  • Discuss the importance of reviewing and evaluating departmental policies and practices at the beginning of the transformation process
  • Explain how subcommittees can assist in moving the transformation process forward
  • Identify issues to examine related to the department’s use of screening and assessment
  • Describe how to align supervision plans with screening and assessment results
  • Discuss key aspects related to redesigning the incentive and sanctioning process to address compliance with probation requirements
  • List recommended topics for staff recidivism reduction training
  • Differentiate between process and outcome measures for the transformation process
  • Describe how to retool the personnel evaluation system to reinforce agency-wide recidivism reduction efforts
  • Plan for ongoing evaluation for continuous improvement

Access the online course.

Reducing short-term prison sentences in Northern Ireland: Enhanced Combination Orders

An article by Stephen Hamilton, Assistant Director PBNI.

Research shows that short-term prison sentences are less effective in addressing offending behaviours than community-based disposals. The Lord Chief Justice therefore requested that the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI), develop a demanding community sentence as an alternative to the high number (88% at May 2015) of prison sentences lasting less than 12 months. Based on existing legislation and known as the Enhanced Combination Order (ECO), ECOs offered Judges a community option in a more intensive format.

Piloted in the Ards and Armagh & South Down court divisions since 1st October 2015 and extended to the North West in October 2018, ECOs focus on restorative practice, desistance and victims, with service users also required to complete unpaid work within their local communities. Those with mental health issues are assessed by PBNI psychologists, with a treatment plan then forming part of the intervention where necessary. Where accredited programmes, parenting/family support work, alongside Barnardo’s, and interventions with Restorative Justice partners are also part of the Order. 404 people in Northern Ireland have now been sentenced to an Enhanced Combination Order instead of a short prison sentence.

Earlier this month, an evaluation of the Enhanced Combination Order has been published and it shows that these Orders have been making a positive difference to individuals, families and communities in Northern Ireland.

The evaluation found that:

  • The number of custodial sentences of 12 months or less, awarded by courts involved in the ECO pilot, decreased by 20.7% between 2015 and 2017;
  • Nine in ten service users agreed that the programme had helped them address their offending behaviour and they were unlikely to commit a further similar offence;
  • The vast majority found the help addressing problems in their lifestyle and the way they thought about future offending useful (87%) and agreed that PBNI staff’s support helped them avoid/reduce re-offending (90%);
  • Problems with alcohol and drugs were identified for 71% and 61% of service users respectively. The benefits of the support provided to address addiction and mental health issues were highlighted particularly in relation to the work undertaken through the psychology element of the initiative;
  • The vast majority of service users said they found the help addressing problems with drinking/drug use (83%) useful;
  • There was also a reduction in assessed risks of reoffending.

The evidence highlighted in the evaluation shows that the ECO initiative is an effective programme for service users who value and benefit from the support it provides. The initiative has been embraced by the Judiciary. This reduction in custodial sentences with the resultant decrease in tax payer costs was identified as a major benefit of the pilot. The indicative savings of ECOs, in the event of full rollout, has been independently estimated at up to £8.3m per annum, which on top of the clearly  beneficial social impact, and focus on offending and victim issues, indicates a sentence which continues to provide value for money and better outcomes in comparison to short prison sentences.

Importantly the Probation Board work closely with community partners and Victims Support Northern Ireland to ensure that the voice of victims is taken into consideration when delivering this project. We want to continue to focus on our work with victims and with community partners.

Probation’s aim is to change lives for safer communities. This Order is enabling us to do that and Northern Ireland is safer as a result.

RAN publishes 3rd edition of their working paper for prison and probation staff

An interview with author Torben Adams

Torben Adams is Head of Division in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, he is among other tasks responsible for CPVE programs and initiatives, and advanced training for correctional and probation officers in the German Federal State of Bremen. He has started his career as correctional officer in 1997, his last post in prison was as Governor of a juvenile prison. He has work experience in several countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East. His main passion is criminal justice reform and prison development.

Recently, the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) published the third edition of the Working Paper ‘Approaches to countering radicalisation and dealing with violent extremist and terrorist offenders in prisons and probation’. The new edition includes a lot of updated information and best practices. Torben Adams, the author of the paper tells us everything about the production process and the content of the paper.

Can you tell us more about the content of the working paper?

The first and most important aim was that it should be of value to the prison and probation staff that work with the radicalised offenders. It intends to provide an overview of some of the principal findings emerging in the field of radicalisation in the context of prison and probation. We touch upon different types of violent extremist and terrorist offenders including juveniles and females. We included the returning foreign terrorist fighters issue and the expected ramifications for the respective services. Multi-agency cooperation and information-sharing behind the backdrop of (new) legislation e.g. the EU Directive 680/2016 plays an important role as well.

The human-resources perspective and how we could prepare our staff to deal with the challenging phenomena of violent extremism was important to me in general. Therefore, we mention training and specialised training for involved staff in order to help in a practical manner.

How did you go through the process of producing the paper?

This was the very first time I was responsible for the authorship of this working paper. RAN has a huge knowledge database available, with for example all the output of the other working groups. I used the information that was already available to me, but it was also important for me to involve the practitioners in the production process. CEP played a role there, they held an Expert Meeting in December 2018, Paris. Early drafts of the working paper were shared with the participants. In the framework of one RAN event, I also presented the early draft to receive the feedback from the practitioners. They came from many European member states.

Finally, the wonderful people at the RAN CoE helped much in terms of revising and editing. It has been teamwork to produce the paper.

Was it difficult to produce a paper that is useful for all the member states?

This was the most challenging part of producing this working paper. It is in the nature of the work that you have to make some compromises. But you have to make sure that these compromises do not weaken the validity of the paper.

Practices are constantly changing across European member states, which has made it very difficult to identify countries using particular practices. The reasoning behind decisions that lead to particular policies and practices being adopted needs to be more transparent and fed into a broader knowledge base of good practices. Decision-making is rarely evidence-based. Research needs to be embedded into practice early on. A more coordinated approach to research is needed, to better understand the contexts in which radicalisation seems to succeed, where its risks are diminished and what kind of support is most beneficial for offenders reintegrating into society.

The mentioned challenge was not only exhausting but also very rewarding to me, as I have tried to tailor the practitioner’s paper into something that is useful and applicable in the respective member states. At least, the paper needs to be a stimulus to shape practice and policies.

What is the importance of cooperation between prison and probation in working with violent extremist offenders?

Cooperation between prison and probation is a logical requirement in the context of dealing with offenders, including those radicalized and/or charged with and sentenced for terrorist crimes. Institutionalized cooperation does not always exist in the member states, as prison and probation services are organized differently within EU member states. In certain cases, they are two separate entities, while in others, they act under the same centralized agency. In some countries, the prison system is organized at national level while the probation system is organized at local or regional level. This clearly affects how information is shared and how these elements cooperate. In the paper at hand we have provided some good-practice models from some European member state jurisdictions.

Nevertheless, in the probation services the usual way of working with radicalized offenders is the generic way, the one used for all other types of offenders. It is important however to try to involve other agencies in order to have more sources and data. In addition, here the importance of a holistic way of working (in line with legislation) was stressed, as well as the need to involve families and the need on the work on preparation for release and transition.

Will there be a 4th edition? 

It is a kind of tradition that the practitioners paper is renewed every year, because of the dynamics in the field.  We might also have new topics by then. The first wave of offenders is under probation supervision then. We can review the progress made. I mentioned earlier that the sample group of offenders is relatively small and maybe in a few more years we have more offenders that are subjected to probation. More cases to elaborate on.

The full working paper is available on the RAN website.

CEP and EuroPris Workshop: Interagency Cooperation

In cooperation with the European Organisation for Correctional Services (EuroPris), Confederation of European Probation (CEP) organises a workshop with the focus on interagency cooperation between prisons, probation and municipalities when preparing offenders for their return to society. The Workshop will take place on the 12th and 13th of November in Barcelona at the Centre for Legal Studies. 

When considering the rehabilitation of persons who have committed a crime resulting in imprisonment, a critical stage of the process is when they are released to the community. This is an important moment of transition when the person needs support in several areas of his/her life. Research indicates that this transition management is a crucial in the rehabilitation process.

In order to support all aspects of the person’s reintegration and rehabilitation (e.g., education, health, housing, employment) there needs to be positive and genuine cooperation between the various services involved: prison, probation, municipalities, NGO’s, amongst others. The aim is to establish a long-term and consistent rehabilitation process, to increase the opportunity for positive outcomes and to reduce reoffending.

To this end we will organize a Workshop on Interagency cooperation where different European countries will be invited to present good practice, successful projects and effective ways of cooperation between the different actors involved in the process from prison and probation back to the community.


Please click on the link to see the preliminary conference programme.


There is no conference fee for the Interagency Cooperation Workshop. Traveling and accommodation costs are not included. Please click on the linkt to register for the Interagency Cooperation Workshop.

CEP members who wish to attend a CEP event and are not able to (fully) fund their attendance, may apply for a bursary. For more information about bursaries, please click here.

Conference location

Centre for Legal Studies, Carrer Ausias March, 40, Barcelona

[Register for Webinar] Improving Job Readiness and Retention for Higher Risk Populations

Date: Wednesday, Aug. 28
Time: 2–3:30 p.m. ET

Hosted by the National Reentry Resource Center with funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance

During this webinar, participants will learn about the integration of social learning and/or cognitive behavioral approaches, as well as other-risk reduction strategies, in employment program models. These lessons are especially useful for corrections and workforce development administrators and practitioners as well as community-based reentry service providers who are interested in improving employment outcomes for people assessed as being at a moderate to high risk of reoffending.

Copyright © 2019 The Council of State Governments Justice Center