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STEPS 2 Resettlement

STEPS 2 Resettlement is a two year project, funded by the EU (JUST/2011/JPEN/AG/4605).  The project is investigating the implementation of EU Framework Decision FD2008/909/JHA, which is concerned with the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences. FD 909 is one of three related FDs that have been adopted by the EU. In broad terms, the purpose of these is to ensure that, in a common European area of justice based on mutual trust, non-residents subject to criminal proceedings are not treated differently from residents of that country. This is particularly important in view of the substantial number of EU citizens who are imprisoned in other Member States.

There are four workstreams in the project, investigating: 

  1.    Enhanced Cooperation and Mutual Trust between Member States
  2.    Increasing Understanding and Awareness of the FD909 for Staff, Offenders and Victims
  3.    Development of resettlement and aftercare practices
  4.    Improving prison management through improved information management

It is the third of these workstreams that is being led by De Montfort University. Although much of the discussion about the FD has centred on prison and the logistics of transfer, the FD identifies social rehabilitation as its guiding rationale. It is increasingly recognised that this cannot be achieved without appropriate resettlement services and, in particular, strong continuities between experiences during the sentence in prison and work done with the offender after leaving custody. While much is known about the effectiveness of resettlement practices, the needs of people sentenced in an issuing state and sent to serve their sentences in another country are distinctive and pose particular challenges for continuity and the aspiration of a ‘seamless sentence’.

The focus of this workstream is on developing best practice in resettlement in such circumstances, with particular attention to rehabilitation, reintegration and public protection. This involves looking  at the services that are offered to foreign nationals during their sentence (sometimes referred to as throughcare) and also after their release (resettlement and after-care). The aim of our research is to find out about creative solutions to common problems and to find examples of good practice so that these ideas can be shared across all EU countries. In order to do this we shall attempt to obtain some information from every EU country and examine procedures in more detail in countries where practice seems well developed.

STEPS 2 Resettlement, which follows an earlier project (ISTEP - JLS/2010/JPEN/AG)  to investigate the implementation of a Framework Decision relating to non-custodial and probation sanctions and measures, involves several partners, including the National Offender Management Service, EuroPris (the European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services), the CEP (Confederation of European Probation), the University of Ghent, the University of Bucharest, the University of Brescia, the Research Institute for Social Development and Innovation (Romania) and the Ministries of Justice and National Prison and / or Probation Services of several countries.

The De Montfort workstream is led by Professor Rob Canton, working with Dr Nick Flynn and Joe Woods.

The project ends in February 2016.

For more information about the project please contact Professor Rob Canton