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PO 21 – European Prison Officers for the 21st Century

The project,  submitted to the ERASMUS+ programme of the European Commission (LOT 2: Sector Skills Alliance for Design and Delivery of VE – Designing and delivering  transnational sector-wide vocational curricula), acknowledges the fact that the present and future challenges that a prison officer faces everyday require a different set of skills and behaviours than the ones for which they have been trained for; and that there is also an urgent need to agree on the initial and continuous vocational education and training that should be provided to prison officers in the future, regarding the learning objectives, content, length of the training courses, and recognition of competences that may foster mobility throughout the European Union.

Therefore, developed by sectoral representatives (prison administrations, trade unions, VET and research organizations, and representatives of correctional private and public sector members), the PO 21_ European Prison Officers for the 21st Century project aims to:

  1. develop a strategic approach to sectorial skills development through the creation of a partnership for the sustainable cooperation between prison administrations and correctional academies, trade unions, and other sectorial representatives;
  2. identify existing and emerging skills needs for prison officers (the 21st Century Prison Officer profile), also feeding this intelligence into the European Skills Panorama;
  3. strengthen the exchange of knowledge and practice between education and training institutions and correctional sector actors;
  4. promote relevant sectorial qualifications and support agreement for their recognition;
  5. build mutual trust, facilitating cross-border certification and therefore easing professional mobility in corrections, and increasing recognition of qualifications at European level;
  6. adapt Vocational Education and Training provisions to skills needs, focusing both on prison officer job specific skills as well as on key competences;
  7. promote qualification standards for work-based learning (range of knowledge, skills and competence that is to be achieved through WBL, or learning on-the-job).

The project has an expected duration of 36 months.

Together with other partners, our organization is expected to participate in:

  • project meetings and workgroups related to the creation of a corrections sector skills advisory platform;
  • providing inputs and feedback about prison officers skills needs and the delivery of a recommendation paper for re-thinking training of prison officers;
  • organizing 2 roundtables (consultation session and presentation of results), involving social partners, European Commission officials, and Council of Europe representatives.
  • project dissemination and mainstreaming activities.


VET and Research

  1. BSAFE LAB Law Enforcement, Justice and Public Safety Lab, UBI University, PT
  2. IPS_Innovative Prison Systems, PT
  3. KRUS University College of NorwegianCorrectional Service,
  4. Central Training Center of the Polish Prison Service, PL
  5. EPTA European Penitentiary Training Academies, EU

Prison administrations

  1. Bremen Senate of Justice and Constitution,DE (and training center)
  2. DGRSP Direcção Geral da Reinserção e Serviços Prisionais, PT (and training center)
  3. Service Public Federal Justice, B (Belgian Prison Administration and training center)
  4. General Secretariat of Penitentiary Institutions, SP (and training center)

Trade Unions

  1. Sindicatul National al Lucratorilor de Penitenciare (SNLP), RO
  2. SNCGP Sindicato Nacional do Corpo da Guarda Prisional, PT

Other sectoral social partners

  1. Stichting Foundation ICPA Office in Europe, NL
  2. European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), EUR44

Associated partners

  1. EUROPRIS The European Organisation of Prisons and Correctional Systems, NL
  2. Council for Penological Cooperation of the Council of Europe, FR

Published on: 6 September 2019