Ukraine // The current practice of probation supervision

Themes: ,


By Lino Brosius

  • How do you design a supervision action plan together with a probation client?
  • How do you combine control and guidance to keep offenders on the right track?

Last week CILC and CJS carried out an assessment to determine the nature of supervision work in Ukraine. Dutch probation experts Leo Tigges and Marco de Kok visited the Holosiivskyi and Desnianskyi Probation Units in Kiev to interview probation officers about how they structure and organise their work with offenders.

The verdict is the starting point for all probation work, and sentences with probation elements usually include the following conditions:

  • To periodically appear at the Probation Unit for registration (duty to report)
  • To notify the Probation Unit of changes in residence
  • To not leave the territory of Ukraine without coordinating this with the Probation Unit

Probation officers in Ukraine have a confident command of structuring and controlling tasks, and they possess the right skills for implementing these sentences from the courts.

At the moment, ‘probation verdicts’ do not list the requirement that offenders have to work constructively with the probation service to solve their problems – an essential step to prevent reoffending. This means that support on reintegration, everything beyond the mandatory registration, is on a voluntary basis. Probation officers in Ukraine take the time to conduct an assessment at the intake, and they draft an individual action plan with each offender that is assigned to them (in collaboration with the offender). They then use the mandatory registration moments, ranging from once a month to once a week, to talk to the clients and to offer additional support. This assistance centres on urgent and practical matters, such as support in obtaining identity documentation, improving housing conditions, and looking for paid work. More profound assistance on behavioural change is not always part of the guidance offered to offenders.

In the coming period the project will offer specific skills training on motivational interview techniques to enable probation officers to provide the right suport on behavioural change and change of attitudes.

The Matra project Probation and alternative sanctions in Ukraine is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It aims at making probation in Ukraine operational by:

  • Strengthening the capacity of the probation service to deliver a quality probation output
  • Promoting the use of alternatives for incarceration
  • Increased support for probation and alternative sanctions among citizens

All pictures courtesy of Leo Tigges.

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