Subscribe Here

Detention and Alternative Sanctions: NHC Senior Expert Leo Tigges on his work & new RoLT training

19 August 2021

We are inviting  civil servants from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine, with responsibilities in prison and probation management on a policy and/or an executional level, and for persons within the criminal justice system holding responsibilities in the execution of criminal sanctions (e.g. judges, prosecutors) to take part in the upcoming online Detention and Alternative Sanctions training!

As part of this year’s MaTra Rule of Law Training programme, the training will enable participants to get acquainted with best practices from leading Dutch academics, practitioners and institutions in the field of Detention and Alternative Sanctions. By strengthening the capacity of civil servants with respect to the execution of criminal sanctions in a manner that is respectful of fundamental rights and that finds the right balance between sanction, reintegration, and the protection of victims and society, this training focuses on encouraging participants to reflect on the situation in their own country, to identify areas for reform and to nurture exchange on practices in other countries.

The training will be conducted by, among others, Leo Tigges, a Senior Expert with the NHC and an independent Community Based Justice Advisor, currently involved in various international projects that aim to enable the establishment or improvement of probation systems and probation organisations.

Leo, many thanks for taking the time for this short interview, to give our readers and potential applicants a better insight to what they can expect from the course. Your years of experience with the Dutch Ministry of Justice, as well as with the Dutch Probation Services and as Secretary General of the Confederation of European Probation speak for itself. Could you tell us a bit more about your specific experience in the participating RoLT countries?

As you have mentioned, I have worked for many years in the field of security and justice, with a specific focus on alternative sanctions. The last few years I also am a senior external expert with the NHC. My work has taken me all over the world and I am currently involved in projects in Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine and Armenia. In the past, I have been involved in projects on improving  conditions for reintegration of juvenile detainee in Kosovo, North Macedonia and Albania and as an advisor to the Minister of Justice in Armenia. I am very much looking forward to continuing my involvement with civil servants in the region through this new training.

What experience has made a lasting impression on you while working in this region?

Every country has its different system, history, political constellation, and origin of probation officers, but in every country one can spot people who have the right ‘probation DNA’: working on a positive relationship with offenders, caring for them, trying to give them insights into their problems and what they can do to address them, and have a realistic view on the prospects of offenders. It is heartwarming to see that even without the sophisticated trainings we have nowadays, some people understand by nature what the essence of probation is.

What motivates you to work with civil servants from the prison and probation systems in our participating countries?

Building up a probation organisation is a tough job that requires perseverance. It starts with the motivation to improve your probation system and I have spotted this motivation quite often in people within prison and probation. And it is encouraging to experience that in some countries the improvement of their probation system has been enormous.

What do you hope to help our participants with during the training on Detention and Alternative Sanctions

I hope that we can inspire participants to exchange and deepen their and our knowledge to further develop and reform our prison and probation systems.

Many thanks Leo, and best of luck with the upcoming training!

Detention and Alternative Sanctions Training: Please join us!

Sign up and share your thoughts and approaches during the upcoming Detention and Alternative Sanctions training, taking place from 4 October to 5 November. As collaboration and exchange stand central in the MaTra Rule of Law Training programme, we are interested in hearing from you. Please note the deadline for applications is 30 August 2021.

The Matra Rule of Law Training Programme is designed and delivered by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Leiden Law School and The Hague Academy for Local Governance. It is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. For questions relating to the Matra Rule of Law Training Programme or application process please email: