Towards a European Approach to Probation Education and Training

Published 15/09/2010
Type Article
Author(s) Dr Brian Stout, Rob Canton
Corresponding Authors Dr. Brian Stout, Associate Head of School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montford University

The possibility of a consistent approach to the training of probation officers throughout Europe has been discussed for some time. A combination of factors has led to this idea being given increased attention recently; these include the adoption of the European Probation Rules, recent EU framework decisions and the agreement of the Stockholm programme promoting alternatives to prisons and the European Training Scheme. The promotion of a European
approach was given new impetus by a conference in Agen, France in December 2009, organised by the European Organisation for Probation (CEP) with the aim of harmonising probation training in Europe, sharing good practice and highlighting new initiatives.

This article will outline the factors that influence the debate on European probation training and set out the arguments for adopting such an approach. It will also identify possible difficulties and obstacles that might hinder a curriculum development process. The article will conclude with some suggestions of a way forward in developing a European approach. It will be argued that a useful early project will be to set benchmarks for probation training throughout Europe.