Dear Readers, After almost two years of intensive collaboration on the future-oriented alternative measures to imprisonment for minor offenders in Europe, the project ALT.TRACKS is about to reach the end of its first stage of implementation. In this newsletter issue, we are providing to you a brief overview of the project’s key development findings. The project ALT.TRACKS is intended to foster a more inclusive and common European Juvenile Justice dimension and framework between involved countries to Europe and provide demand driven information for the target group, beneficiaries and stakeholders, as well as European policy decision makers on the challenges of providing tangible alternatives to imprisonment in six case study Member-States throughout Europe: Italy, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Portugal. In addition, we will look back on the final conference “ALTERNATIVE TRACKS: a new path for minors offenders and their families papers and presentations.
- the need to categorize and characterize more accurately the needs of minors incorporated in the juvenile justice system, focusing on their protection regarding their capacity, their learning needs and their potential in terms of competences.
- the need to build and provide tangible alternatives to imprisonment, for minors offenders, their victims and family, considering background, individual and social perspectives.
The operational objectives of the project in hand is to map and scope good practices, build up innovative approaches for programmes and services as alternatives to strictly detention, and to build a Vademecum comprising a set of practical and transferable tools such as socio-educational services , motivational orientation paths and individualized work programmes, restorative justice activities, re-education, re-habilitation and re-integration programmes supported by a work-based tangible approaches.
1.Working group meeting overview
The ecstatic and lively city of Lisbon, Portugal, located at the mouth of the river Tagus was chosen to host the organization of the fourth transnational meeting of the project, where our partner Memória de Records Club had the opportunity to reveal a great sense of event organization and hospitality to the consortium, and were all participants had remarkable conditions and opportunities to share, debate and examine all activities achieved so far, in progress, and about to be implemented with the sustainability plan.
The meeting validated all activities achieved so far, namely:
- management and administrative documentation to be gathered aiming at the finalization of reporting activities;
- financial aspects of the project development aiming at the reporting of the budget execution;
- comparative study within the framework of restorative justice;
- implementation activities regarding the development of the pilot-testing phase in Bulgaria,Romania and Italy;
- impact indicators related to all dissemination activities achieved so far within the consortium at national and EU level;
- evaluation and monitoring processes aiming at understanding the quality level and level of achievement of the project compared to the planed work plan.
The meeting provided the conditions to address further needs and to gather the following conclusions in the matter of:
- dissemination and exploitation of results activities that need to be implemented within the Sustainability Plan of the project, beyond its development scope (2014-2015);
- Vademecum specific promotion plan in order to foster knowledge of the key findings provided by the research and the pilot-testing phase;
- further implementation of pilot-test within the Sustainability Plan in the current consortium countries and beyond
- further research practice and comparative studies within the Sustainability Plan in the current consortium countries and beyond, considering the exploitation of results working groups anticipated in the project, e.g. competences cluster, think Tank open web platform (policy analysis experts), and Spin-off steering committee (proficient EU level experts)
2. Development overview
Inclusive and precise management (Work Stream 0 – WS0)
During the 4th transnational meeting, the consortium recognized and validated the achievements reached during the project development and supported by the handbook “Project Management Document”, considering the leadership of Eughenia Società Cooperativa Sociale – Onlus (Eughenia), located in Bitonto, Italy.
During the meeting, emphasis was given on the Work Stream (WS) n.o 1 “Mapping, examination and Comparative Studies, a WS led by Health Psychology Management Organisation Services (HP-MOS), aiming at addressing key aspects of the development activities:
- the implementation of the field research and interviews with experts and practitioners;
- the process of collecting the information;
- key findings;
- pathways for improvements aiming at implementing the Sustainability Plan encompassing the Exploitation of Results strategy.
Vademecum testing development (Work Stream 2 – WS2)
The Vademecum is a set of methodologies, recommendations and pilot-testing key findings, aiming at identifying and characterizing pioneering approaches to programmes and services in substitution to strict detention (or imprisonment), supported by a multi-stakeholders approach work plan, comprising alternative measures and rehabilitation for minor offenders, involving inclusively victims and their relatives.
The consortium recognized the following points:
- globally, experimental studies into restorative justice is possibly still in its early stages and a variety of questions continue unanswered;
- joint efforts at EU must be continuously fostered in order to achieve a more common approach on the matter of restorative justice at EU level, more specifically taking in consideration the current situtation regarding migrants, people with special needs or gender equality;
- a multi-stakeholder approach gives victims the prospect for inclusive and integrated involvement in the course of coping with the occurrence that has affected them;
- the direct interaction with offenders means that it is tougher for the later to detach themselves from the damage they have caused and for them to attempt to mitigate either their own behavior or its post-event impacts;
- among matters of concern, one of these is the balance of power between victims (and their relatives) and the minor offenders, and the need for this equilibrium to be shared by the parties in fair and equal terms;
- both victims and offenders recognize they are being given the opportunity to inclusively address their issues and achieve more constructive solutions to overcome post-event issues;
Monitoring and evaluation (Work Stream 3 – WS3)
During the 4th transnational meeting, the consortium acknowledged and endorsed the practical results achieved during the project development and supported by the handbook “Quality Plan Management”, considering the leadership of Anadrasis, located in Athens, Greece, namely:
- interactive input for the evaluation of field-based pilot-test supported by online questionnaires;
- Integrated approach for monitoring output/input.
3. International conference
The Civil Society Organisation Memória de Records – Club, organizer of the event, designed the conference in two phases, with a first session organized around the presentation of the main results of the working groups, and a second session structured around the sharing of experience with other initiatives, and discussion on possible further steps, during which the keynote speakers experts in the field of juvenile delinquency were invited, representing academia, both public and private sectors and the civil society globally.
“ALTERNATIVE TRACKS: a new path for young offenders and their families” is the international event of the consortium, addressing the alternative justice domain, measures and innovative approaches to design programmes and services as substitutes for strictly detention, and was held in Lisbon , Portugal, on November 18, 2015 from 14:00 to 20:00.
Fostering the exploitation of results
The conference provided the opportunity for the panellists members of the consortium to expose the key findings of the initiative ALT.TRACKS as well as the detailed work plan of each Work Stream (WS) where leaders of the referred WS stressed on the benefits and related output for further steps beyond the lifetime of the current project development.
In addition, the event offered the occasion to organize a mutual learning activity with the participation of Mr. Tiago Cardoso Leitão, Board member of Innovative Prison Systems (IPS), Portugal, who introduced to the audience the project “My Community Passport (MyCompass)- Increasing the level of employability of 100 juvenile offender” (more information at http://www.my-compass- project.eu/).
Eughenia Società Cooperativa Sociale (SCS) ― ONLUS
I. Trav. Via Raffaele Abbaticchio 2
70032 Bitonto ― Italy
Mr. Michele Bulzis ― firstname.lastname@example.org
WS4 Dissemination coordinator
Memória de Records Club
R. Vivas S/N
7330-012 Beirã / Marvão ― Portugal
Mr. Christian Brand ― email@example.com