Ukrainian, Latvian and Dutch experts came together in Kyiv last month to strengthen the probation system. In Ukraine, probation measures were introduced in the legal system in January 2017. These measures comprise of regular intensive contacts with (former) offenders to rehabilitate them and prevent them from reoffending. This way, the probation system can play an important role in ensuring safety, security and stability in local communities and the Ukrainian society as a whole.
Bringing key stakeholders together
The meetings organized on 22-23 October are part of a broader project aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Ukrainian probation system to make the service more operational and effective. CILC and its partner NHC facilitated peer discussions between probation officers, prosecutors and judges in several districts of Kyiv and the region to exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas to push the probation system forward. Bringing all key stakeholders in the criminal justice system together is a key part of the project. In addition, communications as a topic and opportunity to further develop the probation system was discussed.
Implementing pilots for testing and generating knowledge
The project implements several pilots. This allows for testing various ideas and generating knowledge on best practices that can subsequently be used in other districts. The pilots focus on developing key aspects of the probation service, such as pre-trial advice, meaningful supervision work and community services. This allows for better collaboration between key players and a tailored approach to sanctioning; ultimately contributing to a fair and safe society. This was confirmed by one of the judges who participates in the project. She stated: ‘The information provided by the probation service helped me directly in a specific case, as it provided me with the opportunity to impose an alternative sanction, which was a more appropriate sentence for the defendant and society. This is a direct result of the pilot.’
Support for probation and alternative sanctions among Ukrainian citizens is also indispensable to the success of the probation system. ‘If the benefits of alternatives for incarceration and tailored sanctioning are well-known among professionals and society, prosecutors will be encouraged to demand these measures and judges will more often impose them’, says Lino Brosius, Senior Project Manager at CILC. The project will concurrently work on creating a better understanding of probation and addressing all stakeholders to increase effective cooperation and make probation work.