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Prison and probation staff at a common Risk Assessment Training

29 February 2016

Evaluation of risk must be the foundation of all types of reintegration activities. This was the basic idea at the Risk Assessment training held in Montenegro where probation and prison staff worked together on the use of a common tool kit. On February 15 and for the following five daysprofessionals from ZIKS, the Institution for Execution of Criminal Sanctions met with staff members of the Montenegrin Probation Department and the Ministry of Justice. The training was coordinated by Mr. Meurs and Mr. Clobus, two probation officers from the Dutch Probation Service.

In a newly-adopted law on the execution of criminal sanctions in Montenegro it is mandatory for the prison staff to compose an advice for conditional release based on risk assessment. At the same time probation staff has to execute protective supervision with the assessment of risk to be one of the essential parameters. Taking into consideration that uniformity and continuity has to be protected in the process of reintegration of inmates, the basic idea of the training was that both chain partners will work together using the same assessment tool kit.

During the training a general introduction was given on various risk assessment tools while participants had the chance to get familiar with interview techniques and reflection methods. Following a first round of practical exercises, trainees were able to execute a risk assessment with real cases where inmates of the correctional facilities in Spuz volunteered to work together with the trainees. In order to perform the training under optimal circumstances the management of ZIKS offered full cooperation and logistic support.

The risk assessment toolkit was first introduced in 2013-2014. Just after the recent implementation of the new law on the execution of criminal sanctions, the ZIKS staff started to put it into practice. A multi discipline working group was formed and modified the Montenegrin version of the toolkit. The Dutch trainers were asked for their feedback. The working group will continue with the implementation of the risk assessment toolkit in ZIKS in cooperation with the Dutch trainers.

The project ‘Support to the probation service and the system for alternative sanctions in Montenegro’ is implemented by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and its partner organization the Center for International Legal Cooperation. The project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.