Act No. 257/2000 Coll. establishes the Probation and Mediation Service.
Probation means organising and performing supervision over the accused, charged or convicted offenders, supervision over the execution of non-custodial sentences, including licence conditions – restrictions and duties, monitoring of conditionally released offenders during their trial period, individual assistance to the accused and influencing him/her to lead proper life and fulfil conditions ordered by the court or state attorney and thus restore the impaired social as well as legal relations.
Mediation means out-of-court solution of disputes between the accused offender and the victim aiming to settle the conflict and performed in relation to the criminal proceedings. Mediation requires explicit consent of both the victim and the offender.
Strategy for Probation and Mediation until 2025
The Strategy for Probation and Mediation until 2025 stands for the first long-term strategic document setting the key areas for the further development in probation and mediation activities in the Czech Republic. Agreed by the Czech government in 2017, the document comes up with a vision of advancing probation and mediation in criminal matters in the next eight years through the progressive fulfillment of strategic goals.
The material focuses on the crucial steps in the further development of probation and mediation, as well as on meeting up the needs in the area identified by the PMS since its foundation in 2001. Our main objectives include: protecting society through more effective efforts to divert offenders from criminal activities, resolving conflicts arising as a consequence of crime, helping victims of crime more fruitfully, and effective management of the PMS. From the practical point of view, our future plans take in an implementation of the Electronic Monitoring System in criminal justice, establishing Program Centers for offenders, and setting up Halfway Houses for conditionally released offenders.
Elaborating on the cooperation with partner organizations active in criminal justice, the Strategy for Probation and Mediation until 2025 places a special emphasis on a systemic and multidisciplinary approach with efforts directed towards tackling problems associated with criminality.
The concept takes into account strategic documents produced by our partner organizations in criminal justice, particularly the Concept of Prison Development until 2025. Both documents share common measures in many areas, and they point towards achieving the same objectives, i.e. reducing criminal recidivism, and integrating ex-offenders into society more effectively. Responding to the long sought-after need to build a modern and interconnected offender treatment system in prisons, after release, and in the process of an alternative sentence enforcement, it is necessary – as the strategic document puts it – to bring about substantial changes both within the prison system and in probation and mediation activities.
Not to forget, the Strategy for Probation and Mediation complies with or explicitly builds on international documents and recommendations that contribute to sustaining and spreading good practice in probation and mediation across European and other countries.
The important prerequisites for the further development and bringing about positive changes in mediation and probation include an implementation of the legislative changes concerning the status of the Probation and Mediation Service in criminal proceedings, strengthening the powers of the PMS in the area of probation enforcement, and improving overall conditions for the PMS staff and their activities. Thus, the service will be able to more intensively act on offenders in the sense of diverting them from further criminal activity, while at the same time meeting the needs and interests of the crime victims more effectively.
To make live our visions and finance all the proposed measures, we plan to use not only budgetary but also extra-budgetary funds and European funds.