Collaboration and the exchange of good practice experience at the international level range inseparably among the activity of the Service. German, Austrian, Dutch, Swiss and, last but not least, Canadian experience had a significant impact on the Probation Mediation Service Act as it stands as well as a lot of legal amendments of alternative punishments and measures.
The foreign theories as well as the practice of restorative justice were reflected in the concept of the act on Service itself and gave rise to a model of probation and mediation under one roof. The emphasis on the topic of the victim also during the probation work was another visible trace of restorative justice ideas. The interest of the Service was to enable the employees to collect experience and ideas for their work in the international context. This was successful, in particular, via large partnership projects in the Phare-Transition Facility programmes and from the so called Norwegian funds.
Within these large projects, almost 200 employees of the Service had an opportunity to travel “to acquire experience”, in particular, in the first years of the existence of the Service. Within such business trips, Czech probation officers had an option to get acquainted in detail with the practice of the probation services in Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway. They went on study trips, conferences, seminars, workshops. Gradually, the Czech Probation and Mediation Service became part of the European probation community. The experience distinctly reflected in the practice of the Service itself. To name but a few, youth teams or interdisciplinary teams for the victims of the crime are the inspiration from Britain, whereas the commission for conditional discharge in a successful project“A Fragile Chance” is a distinct Canadian trace. A training of Austrian colleagues in the mediation between the victim and the offender is considered to be one of the best by the probation officers from the Moravian centres. And we may continue by other examples.
Foreign experience and good practice examples have had the impact on the development and high quality of the practice of the Service. Whereas at first the Service‘s employees learnt a lot and gained experience, then they themselves started passing experience. The Czech Probation and Mediation Service itself become an example of good practice. The Service‘s representatives do not visit the international events only as the auditors, but also as those who present, have lectures, teach, share their professional experience. During 2007-2012, the Service successfully participated via its experts in major international projects of building probation services in Turkey, Albania and the most notably and with the largest number of experts in Croatia. Also owing to the long-term and excellent collaboration with the National Probation Service of England and Wales.
In 2007, the Probation and Mediation Service became a member of the Confederation for European Probation (CEP). The Service representatives participate in many common activities within the CEP in expert roles, e.g. in the project STREAM, (Strategic Targeting of Recidivism through Evaluation and Monitoring), which deals with assessing and monitoring good practice within the recommendations of the European Council – European Probation Rules or in the project CoSA (Circles Of Support and Accountability), which is the initiative for the joint monitoring of the practice in released risk offenders of sexually motivated crimes. In the long term the Service closely collaborates with the European Council and, in particular, with the group for penology and alternative punishment, (Council for Penological Cooperation – PC CP). In 2015, the Service became a younger/junior partner in the twinning project with Finland, in which it participates in the development of the alternative system of problem-solving in Albania. In 2018, we became a member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ).
International relations, cooperation, experience are simply an integral part of the Service, they are part of the process of learning and education. We are proud that we can teach others and pass our experience on colleagues from other countries.
The European Organisation for Probation
Council for Penological Co-operation (PC-CP)
The European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ)
Singapore Prison Service
Radicalisation Awareness Network
Norwegian Correctional Service
The Probation Service
National Institute for Health and Welfare