Montenegro // New steps towards strengthening the probation service


In the period 3 – 7 March 2014, Mr. Frans Clobus (Dutch Probation Service, International Office) conducted a startup mission to Podgorica for the probation component of the project “Support to the probation service and the system of alternative sanctions in Montenegro”. This project, implemented in partnership by NHC and CILC, seeks to enhance the effective use of reintegration, conditional sentencing and community service in Montenegro, with the final intended impact to reduce the number of repeat offenders and overcrowding in detention centres. The visit of Mr. Clobus is the first practical step towards these project goals and meant to pave the way for the first activities of enhancing the capacities of the probation service and penitentiary workers.

As part of the mission, Mr. Clobus visited the office of the Twinning project “Support Penitentiary Reform in Montenegro” (which will end in July 2014), to discuss coordination and alignment of activities during the coming months, as well as how the CILC and NHC project can build on the work carried out already by IRZ and the Dutch Probation Service Foundation with the Ministry of Justice in Montenegro, since January 2013. Furthermore, Mr. Clobus explored approaches for cooperation on process descriptions within prisons in Spuž and Bijelo Polje, with the goal to determine how cooperation and transition agreements can be made between the prison administration (ZIKS) and the probation unit. Also part of the mission were reviewing reintegration possibilities within the prisons of ZIKS and taking stock of reintegration needs within Bijelo Polje.

In close coordination with the stakeholders in Podgorica and Bijelo Polje, it was decided that during the overlapping months of the Twinning and Dutch bilateral projects, Mr. Clobus will focus on: developing process descriptions for Spuž and Bijelo Polje; producing advanced methodologies on supervision; designing file keeping methods and developing methods and approaches for central data filing. A next mission to Montenegro is foreseen to take place the 2nd and 3rd week of April 2014.

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