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European Career Counselling Guidelines for Staff Working in Criminal Correctional Justice System (CCJ4)

ICPA is a project partner in the European Career Counselling Guidelines for Staff Working in Criminal Correctional Justice System (CCJ4) project.

This project sets out to discover the extent to which there is an ideal approach for prison staff career management. It will also identify the elements of that model. Our aim, so far unexploited in any European project, is to look at the process of cultural change within the prison environment, reflecting on the career of the staff and on the support provided for the inmates. It explores the potential result of a foresight research on careers in correctional justice system, from 9 piloting countries, but with European and international expertise. This project’s distinctive features are the exploration of three levels (professions, organizations, and policies) and the use of a participatory method that enables interaction and learning. It approaches topics such as labour market issues including career guidance / youth unemployment, home and justice affairs such as human rights and the rule of law. CCj4 is also trying to reach to a policy level or dialogue with the decision makers.

This initiative has been developed and implemented by CPIP, a leading NGO in Criminal Correctional Justice projects, and is co-funded by the European Commission under the programme KA3 – Support for policy reform, Forward-Looking Cooperation Projects. The European Career Counselling Guidelines for Staff Working in Criminal Correctional Justice System (henceforth CCJ4) is a transnational partnership, in which eleven partners from nine countries (Romania, Germany, Turkey, Malta, Portugal, Lithuania, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Norway) with a wide geographical spread take part in the proposal, being led by Asociatia Centrul pentru Promovarea Invatarii Permanente (CPIP) Romania.

The aim to promote the concept of “learning prisons”, is particularly remarkable, where all involved actors bring equal experience in a lifelong learning approach for the benefit of two particularly vulnerable groups: staff, who live in a continuous state of work-related stress, and of course prisoners. It is based on a strong collaboration between direct end users (prison staff), employers (prison administrations), workplace (prison), and other stakeholders (companies and NGOs). The project intends to develop, test and set in place a working methodology for starting or for improving the career guidance process in the criminal correctional justice (CCJ), focusing on the competencies needed to manage one’s own career.

This will be done with direct end user involvement (prison staff), employers (prison administrations), workplace (prison) and further training (companies and NGOs). It also intends to put on the European public agenda the need of a structured and guided approach to career management in the prison system, starting with the involvement of the direct interested parties. This will be done with direct involvement of prison administrations, trade unions and international professional bodies.

CCJ4 is planning on the relevance of the method as a tool for strategic development, evaluation of public policies and, more broadly, the collective construction of knowledge. It is about good prison management in a time of change, with career guidance and innovation as fundamental pillars. It is not based merely on theory and hypothesis; instead, it is firmly grounded in hard-earned experience and practical knowledge of a unique combination of partners. The project is carried out within a European context but with the expectation that its findings would be relevant to a much wider audience.

Author: Daiana Huber, Senior Researcher, CPIP Romania