PO21 Project


Across Europe, there are a variety of challenges linked to the training and education of prison officers. They often lack proper initial and continuous training, and in the EU there are big differences in training policies and practices, which can inhibit the development and mobility of professionals between the Member States and hinder the implementation of Framework decisions on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters.

Moreover, recruitment and selection processes are different in every member state; initial training, learning outcomes, qualifications and length of training can be very different between jurisdictions as well. Thus, the European Prison Officers for the 21st project (PO21) seeks to fill the gaps and divergences mentioned by identifying existing and emerging skill needs within prison officers; strengthening the exchange of knowledge and practices and adapting vocational education and training to skills needs, while promoting qualification standards in the sector, with a particular emphasis on digital skills.

Project Aims

  • Identify existing and emerging skills needs;
  • Strengthen the exchange of knowledge and practices;
  • Promote relevant qualifications and support their recognition;
  • Adapt Vocational Education and Training (VET) to skills needs;
  • Promote qualification standards for work-based learning;
  • Focus on digital skills that are increasingly important to the modern job of prison officers;
  • Plan for the progressive roll-out of the project at the sectoral level.

Expected outcomes

  • Corrections sector skills advisory platform
  • The set up of a panel of experts as an advisory board, which will:
    • Advise the project partners, providing inputs to the workplan;
    • Provide feedback about their views about the work being developed;
    • Support the dissemination of results and mainstreaming into national and EU policies and practice.
  • Transnational vocational curricula and resources
  • Design and development of an EU-based, integrated twofold approach to effectively address and upscale the professional role of the prison officer.
  • Skills needs assessment: Through the development of a research-based framework, it intends to collect (and posteriorly analyse) data not only through a comprehensive screening of the existing literature, but also by running various DACUM workshops.
  • Curricula development: Integrated and holistic approach towards a sustained and innovative curricula for prison officers.
  • European Prison Officer’s training course piloting & finetuning
  • A training course will be implemented on-site with participants from the partner countries’ prison services, assuring the spread of the training curricula across various professionals in future training activities.
  • Short-term staff training event(s). Development and implementation of a transnational 5-day short-term training (4 events, one per partner country: PT, BE, DE, RO) for prison officers from different European jurisdictions, to be developed in different countries, in order to collect feedback about the newly developed or adapted training contents and methods proposed, as well as to gather feedback from the VET providers from different European countries involved as training providers. The participants selected will be involved as trainers and facilitators of the newly developed training curricula.

Project Partners

  • BSAFE LAB – Law Enforcement, Justice and Public Safety Research and Technology Transfer Lab, Beira Interior University, Portugal
  • IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, Portugal
  • Bremen Senate of Justice and Constitution, Germany
  • Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP), Portugal
  • De Federale Overheidsdienst Justitie – Le Service Public Federal Justice, Belgium
  • National Trade Union of Prison Workers – SNLP, Romania
  • National Trade Union of the Prison Guard Corps – SNCGP, Portugal
  • EuroPris – European Organisation of Prisons and Correctional Services, The Netherlands
  • Stichting Foundation ICPA Office in Europe, The Netherlands