The monograph “Mediation in the Reflection of Law and Society: European Perspectives” is currently being published by Kluwer Law International, in which our colleagues from the Czech Probation and Mediation Service also took part. Together with the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, we obtained data for a spatio-temporal analysis of the use of mediation in EU countries.

Despite slow progress in use, mediation continues to consolidate its presence in dispute resolution. This important book argues that a more favourable socio-legal climate must be created for mediation to thrive, and accordingly analyses the legal, cultural, social, systemic and spatial aspects of the use of mediation in the legal practice of the different countries of the European Union (EU). Based on a spatiotemporal analysis and models of mediation in the EU, it pinpoints the social and cultural reasons for the fragmentation of its legal regulation and shows what paths are available to promote the effective implementation of mediation in social practice.

PF 2022

The Czech Probation and Mediation Service wishes you a happy and peaceful New Year 2022.

Conference of the Ministers of Justice in Venice

Director General of the Czech Probation and Mediation Service, Mrs Andrea Matoušková, and the Deputy for Probation and Mediation, Mrs Kateřina Šlesingerová, represented the Czech Republic at the Conference of the Ministers of Justice of the Council of Europe “Crime and Criminal Justice – the role of restorative justice in Europe” which took place from 13 to 14 December in Venice, Italy. The aim of the conference was to examine in detail the potential benefits of using restorative justice, having as a reference point the Recommendation of the CoE CM/Rec (2018)8 on restorative justice in criminal matters.

The Italian Presidency presented for an adoption a “Venice Declaration on the Role of restorative justice in criminal matters” in order to promote the practice of restorative justice and further implement its application by the Council of Europe Member States, aiming at a widespread implementation of the above-mentioned Reccomendation. The declaration calls upon the Council of Europe to:

  • Carry out a comprehensive study of models of restorative justice currently covered by national legislations and implemented by member States’ governments, in order to facilitate exchange of knowledge, best practices, experiences and genuine scientific research on this topic, while recognising national specificities;
  • Elaborate “Council of Europe High-Level Principles on Restorative Justice”, proposing a set of measures through which member States will endeavour to apply these principles;
  • Continue, through the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), to regularly assess the implementation of Recommendation (2018)8 and the principles annexed thereto, in the light of any significant developments in the use of restorative justice in member States and, if necessary, revise it, according to Rule 67 of the Recommendation.

We learn about new procedures in probation in Barcelona!

From 8 to 12 November 2021, a seminar on the effective use of the publication – Core Correctional Skills is held at the Center for Legal Studies in Barcelona, ​​Spain, led by the author himself, a professor at the University of Bucharest, Ioan Durnescu.

His book aroused great interest among the professional public. Probation and Mediation Service used this book to create a handbook for the staff of the Programme Centres.  Therefore, the seminar is also attended by a representative of the Probation and Mediation Service, the expert guarantor of the Programme Centres, Marek Tkáč. As many years of experience prove, sharing new knowledge and procedures in our practice plays an important role. We believe that we will bring many new stimulis and inspirations from Barcelona, ​​not only for the new “Back to Life” project.

And there will be plenty to choose from! During the course, participants will try practical excercises of specific procedures, get valuable feedback, visit local workplaces.

Day in a life of probation officer – Zdenka Blazkova

Monday is a typical first working day. Everyone is relaxed after the weekend and ready to catch up with the rest of the last week´s to-do list to start a brand new week. I am welcomed by the cold dark corridor of the building where our Service Centre is situated. I unlock the office door and think about what a lovely summer day it is ahead of us. Unfortunately, my Monday schedule is too busy.

I turn on the coffee machine and my computer – two irreplaceable working tools. While sitting behind the table I take out the case files from the drawer and try to recall where we were on Friday with my agenda. I answer my emails and do a final check-up of the report which needs to be sent to the court.

At 9 a.m. I receive the first phone call. It is from a client who didn’t want to cooperate with us last week. To clarify, when I first contacted him, he told me he was on his way to the hospital with his 88 years old mother. “It will either end well or not. I will get back to you later”, he said. He has been charged with not paying the child maintenance.

“Good morning. My mother passed away. But I would like to solve my case. I hope you can help me with that”, he said. I start explaining the whole procedure – how to fulfil the obligation for imposement of the alternative sentence instead of the sentence of imprisonment. He agrees on further cooperation.

My phone starts ringing again. I can recognize the voice of my youth client. He is under probation supervision. “Hello. It is Honza speaking. I need to come for the consultation. It is important”, said the person on the phone. I agree to it. I have a 30-minute time slot.

Honza – 17 yo, student – has been under supervision for 3 years. When he was 14 yo, he broke into an empty house with his friends just to have a cigarette there. Cigarettes, matches, straw…A very simple equation. Result? Fire and damage caused in the amount of several hundred thousand Czech crowns.

Honza came to the office together with his friend. “Can he stay with me?”, he asks. “Sure, just sit down and tell me what happened”, I responded. “I was thinking I need to be the first to inform you. You will still get to know but…”.

I am giving a nod thinking he is definitely in trouble. Honza starts explaining and said, “I have managed to improve my grades so I can continue studying”. The first reaction in my head is, “hurray”. I just hope that what he needs to tell me is not so bad…the greatest risk for these young adults is if they drop off school before they turn 18. They cannot find a job then, they have a lot of leisure time and are able to think of and do unbelievable things.

“I wanted to celebrate it. So, I went to the camp at the dam with friends”, he says. A short silence follows. I can imagine in advance…they smoked grass and probably sprayed or stole something or beaten someone…it is just an assumption for now. What really happened? They bought drugs (allegedly LSD) and tried them. Honza went so crazy that in the end his friends called an ambulance and police. We discuss the next steps and arrange another meeting soon.

After lunch, we leave the Service Centre. It is time to make home visits to our clients and meet a service centre provider.

Pavel is another of my youth clients. He was a part of the group that had committed a series of thefts. He spent a few days in custody and the court imposed him under probation supervision. He awaits us at his home together with his parents. I am talking with his mother who is convinced that the custody had a major impact on Pavel and he actually learnt his lesson. He has a girlfriend, started studying again, helps his father at the company. It is good news.

The next stop is with the community service provider. Another good news. Our client successfully completed the community service sentence. An unplanned stop on our way back with a client who did not show up for the consultation. No one opens the door.

Back at the Service Centre, there is Lukas waiting for me in front of my office. He did not show up for the last consultation. “Hello. I would like to apologize. Do you have a minute, please?” I only have 5 minutes. “I am just on my way from the court as I was just released from custody. They issued an arrest warrant”. He is more skinny, nervous and there is a tic in his eye. He probably takes drugs again… “Do you want to take a test?”, I ask. Drug testing was not a part of the court decision so I can only take it with his approval. “It makes no sense. I partied on Saturday and took any drug I could”, he replies.

“So you spent the night in custody. How was it?”, I ask. “Well, good bed, bedsheet…(tic in his eye)… bread and tea for breakfast and lunch…(tic in his eye)…I have to stop it. I already did so in the past. I had a girlfriend then. Now I will probably need some help from a psychologist”.

I look for a business card of the psychologist we cooperate with. Thank God we have her. “Are you really sure you will manage it…”, I ask. “Yes, I must manage”, he replies. “I would rather go for a drug detox”, I quickly reply. “I mean it”, he says…

Busy working Monday is nearing its end. I turn off the PC, close my desk and the office. I try to absorb the day…how will this continue? We will see tomorrow.

This article has vbeen published on

“The Restoration of Normality: Mirroring the Past in the Future”

From 11 to 13 October 2021, Prague hosted the conference “The Restoration of Normality: Mirroring the Past in the Future”. The conference was co-organised by the Czech Probation and Mediation Service and Confederation of European Probation. With nearly 70 participants from 15 EU countries it was the very fist face to face conference that took place after two nearly two years.

The opening speech of the conference was delivered by the Czech Minister of Justice, Mrs Marie Benešová, Secretary General to the Confederation of European Probation, Mr Willem van der Brugge, and Director General of the Probation and Mediation Service, Mrs Andrea Matoušková.

The conference focused on key probation topics with a focus on restorative justice practices, its usage within alternatives to detention and interagency cooperation such as: Development of Restorative Practice in Probation, Radicalisation and restoration in the community, Domestic violence, Social support and integration, Education and Training. Besides that two special roundtables took place: one inspired by the series of website articles “A day in a life of probation officer”, focusing on probation officers, and the other one presented by senior probation officers who shared their experience and their opinion on the future of probation.  

“I am pleased that the conference provided us with the opportunity to share best practice, knowledge and experience. I am also very happy that we had a chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Probation and Mediation Service with colleagues and friends from abroad who then provided us with experience and valuable advice. I would like to thank everyone who arrived in Prague to attend the conference. Big thanks belong to the Confederation of European Probation – an organisation which we are members of for more than ten years and thanks to which the second international conference could have taken place in Prague”, says Andrea Matoušková, Director General of the Probation and Mediation Service.

Presentations are available here:

Invitation to the conference in Prague

On behalf of the Czech Probation and Mediation Service and Confederation of European Probation we kindly invite you and your colleagues to the upcoming international conference “The Restoration of Normality: Mirroring the Past in the Future” on the past and future of probation, with a focus on restorative justice and interagency cooperation. The event will be held in Prague, the Czech Republic, from 11th to 13th October 2021 and will also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Probation and Mediation Service. Conference location is the Hotel Pyramida in Prague (


The conference will focus on key probation topics with a focus on restorative justice practices, its usage within alternatives to detention and interagency cooperation such as:

  • Development of Restorative Practice in Probation
  • Radicalisation and restoration in the community
  • Domestic violence
  • Social support and integration
  • Education and Training

Furthermore, we are glad to announce that there will be two special Round Tables: one inspired by the series of website articles “A day in a life of probation officer”, focusing on probation officers, and the other one presented by senior probation officers who are going to share their experience and their opinion on the future of probation.  

It is a timely, stimulating and very relevant programme with expert contributors, lively exchanges and discussion and opportunities to meet and share experiences. It also is the very first opportunity to meet in person again after more than a year of online events only, caused by the COVID-19 restrictions.  

For more details of the event please see the attached conference programme.

The conference will commence on Monday evening, 11th October 2021, at 19:00, with a reception at the Liechtenstein Palace, representative building of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic. The rest of the programme will take place at the Pyramida Hotel, except for the official dinner on 12th October that is held at the Czech Museum of Music.


To register for the conference, please visit the CEP website. Sign up to the online registration system and then follow the instructions for participant registration.

You will receive confirmation of your registration by email. The registration fee is 150 euro for CEP members and 450 euro for non-members. We understand that you might be hesitant to register in these uncertain times, but we very much invite you to still do so as your conference fee will be reimbursed in case of cancellation of the event.

Hotel accommodation

Hotel accommodation is not included in the conference fee but we have made a block booking at the Pyramida Hotel, where the conference takes place. If you would like to make use of the special rate, please make a reservation via the link on the CEP website.

Please confirm your attendance by registering before 1st October 2021 at the latest.

26th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services

The 26th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services “Gaining an Edge over the Pandemic” was held at the VIDAMAR Resort Hotel, in Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal on 20-21 September 2021 (see the brochure). It was co-organised with the Portuguese prison and probation service.

On its agenda was as a priority topic the impact COVID-19 has had on the mental health of offenders and staff as well as on the enhanced use of new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). It has taken stock of the situation and has discussed the lessons learned and the way forward. The attention of the participants was also be drawn to the Council of Europe current work on the treatment of offenders with mental health disabilities and disorders as well as on the ethical and organisational aspects of the use of AI by prison and probation services. At the Conference was also be promoted the latest Council of Europe standard-setting text regarding the assessment, management and reintegration of persons accused or convicted of a sexual offence.

The Conference was opened only to invited participants: Directors of the Prison and Probation Services of the Council of Europe member and observer States as well as representatives of the European Union, the United Nations, the European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (EuroPris), the  International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) and the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) .

More information on the conference:

44 Probation Officers from the Czech Republic completed the HELP course on Radicalisation Prevention

On 16 June 2021, the HELP course on Radicalisation Prevention was launched for a group of 45 probation officers in the Czech Republic. The online launch event, organised within the framework of the EU-CoE HELP Radicalisation prevention, Judicial response to terrorism and International cooperation in criminal matters (RP-TERR-ICCM), was hosted by the Czech Probation and Mediation Service.

The course was sucessfully completed by 44 Probation Officers. The official end of the course took place on 22 September 2021.

Although this national course version targets a selected group, the HELP online course on Radicalisation Prevention is available in 7 languages on the HELP e-learning platform, together with other HELP courses related to the project, namely: International Cooperation in Criminal Matters, Gathering and Use of Evidence in Counter-terrorism cases and Managing Foreign National Prisoners.

More information on the course can be found here.

Day in a life of probation officer – Martina Behalkova

Is the day of a probation officer in Germany similar to the one of someone working in Romania? In the series ‘A day in the life of a probation officer’, we publish articles written by probation officers from different countries in Europe to see if their days look alike or are very different from each other. This article is written by Martina Behalkova, a probation officer from the Czech Republic.

I have been working as a probation officer for five years. My whole professional career I have been specializing in childhood abuse and neglect. Therefore, it was a clear and easy decision for me to join Probation and Mediation Service to focus on juvenile service users. I like this young generation, their opinion and point of view on present-day problems. They look so strong and confident but inside they are often confused and fragile.

The Czech Probation and Mediation Services pay a big attention to this group of young offenders and victims. We have specialized probation officers working with juveniles. They receive special training, for example how to manage a family conference. Juveniles have a lot of differences in comparison with adult offenders. I think the main difference is how they perceive time. In a juvenile‘s life, changes happen quicker than in the lives of adult offenders.

Because of that we usually stay in touch with young service users more often than adult offenders. We speak with them in our offices, visit them in their houses, schools and try to find appropriate sources of help. It is necessary for me to cooperate with all persons who are in touch with the juvenile such as their teachers, their coaches, or their social workers. Last but not least with their family members. All of them give me a part of information about the juvenile and therefore I can compose a mosaic about his/her life. This helps me ask the right questions at the right time and point out their needs.

A collaboration with persons who are in touch with the child is important on all levels. It is a Probation and Mediation Service which supports the System of Early Intervention. This is a process of work and communication in the area of the social and legal protection of juveniles. The members of the System of Early Intervention have regular face-to-face meetings about local problems, delinquent children and juveniles. The representatives of these systems are judges, public prosecutors, policemen, social workers and of course probation officers.

In March 2020, the lives of our juvenile service users totally changed. In the Czech Republic, all schools immediately closed. Nobody expected it. The schools stayed closed with short reopenings nearly for one whole year. At first, the juveniles were extremely happy. They could not believe in their happiness, they had days off, everywhere was chaos, nobody knew what to do. Their teachers tried to find appropriate communication channels to continue juveniles‘ school duties.

The fact is, although teachers tried to do their bestthese juveniles have been staying with their families, nearly for one year without social contact, a face to face with their teachers, their schoolmates, and their friends. Day after another their sports clubs, leisure – hobby centers, swimming pools, playgrounds… were all getting closed. The juveniles stayed home and their lives transformed into digital space for days, weeks, and months… They had been spending hours in front of various digital devices. Their greatest concern was…“Do you have a fast, strong Wi-Fi connection?“…If not, you don´t exist! In this situation, we missed information that usually a juvenile´s teachers and coaches could observe. We had to rely on information from the family. It was a new experience for me, verifying this information was difficult, but not impossible.

This time was also hard for these juveniles’ parents. Some of them lost their jobs, didn´t have enough money, didn´t have enough digital devices for all children in the family, or parents were overloaded and had to day after day cook for their children, and help them with school duties. Inside families, we could recognize tensions, arguments, and domestic violence as well. The juveniles didn´t have any place to escape, they were inside their family house for a long long time. During this hard time, probation officers paid more attention to domestic violence.

Media in the Czech Republic reported a higher alcohol consumption but my personal experience with a group of juvenile offenders has been a little different. Many juveniles told me that they left experimenting with drugs because of the Covid situation. Everything was closed like pubs, music clubs and these places protected them from high-risk moments in their lives when they usually experimented with alcohol or drugs. They described to me that it was easy for them because of the lack of opportunities that usually were given to them by their peers. I hope that they hold on to their decision for the future, for the ‘non- Covid times‘. I am not under any illusions regarding it but I cross my fingers.

So.. the work of probation officers varies. No day is the same and the ‘Covid time‘ teaches us new, unexpected things. We were in touch with the juveniles more often than usual, owing to telephone calls for example. Young offenders showed me that they are stronger than I expected them to be, to survive this scary period. However, I make sure that the best is the element of personal face-to-face guidance and help.

This article has been originally published on