The main theme of the Congress is “Development of Probation and the Role of the Community”. Policymakers, practitioners and researchers throughout the world have developed a variety of systems and measures of probation and community corrections compatible with each country’s culture and society (e.g., policy, economic conditions and criminal justice system). In addition, criminal justice practitioners and researchers have conducted studies on the effectiveness of probation and community corrections.
The objectives of the Third World Congress are to contribute to further development of probation and community corrections throughout the world by sharing knowledge and experiences, taking account of social and cultural diversity in each country. The main theme includes “the role of the community” because each participant is expected to have a deep understanding of the importance of the active involvement of the community in the prevention of recidivism and the promotion of offender rehabilitation.
The Congress will include plenary and workshop sessions, and all sessions of the Congress will incorporate the main theme. The various workshop sessions will also address one of the following workshop themes:
1. Implementing Evidence-based Theories and Practices for Effective Treatment of Offenders
Theories and practices of offender treatment have developed remarkably over the last few decades. For example, the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) Model, the Good Lives Model and Desistance Theory have been subjects of much discussion among practitioners and researchers, and many assessment and treatment practices are based on them. These theories and treatment practices have been implemented around the world, and evaluations of the effectiveness of these practices have also been conducted. Sharing knowledge obtained from these studies and workable practices and discussing future perspectives will contribute to further enhancement of community-based treatment measures around the world.
Thus, workshop theme 1 will address the following three areas:
- Latest theories and/or integrated theories for effective offender treatment,
- Evidence-based practices for assessment and treatment of offenders,
- Unique measures and practices of offender treatment corresponding to each country’s society and culture.
2. The Development of Policies and Practices
To prevent recidivism and promote offender rehabilitation, policymakers, practitioners and researchers have promoted the innovation of effective policies and practices of probation and community corrections. Learning from other countries’ policies and practices will be useful and meaningful for development of their own countries’ probation and community corrections systems. In order to make these policies and practices work adequately, it is important for countries to develop systems for capacity building of professional staff to continuously enhance their knowledge and abilities in line with the changes of social conditions, each country’s evolving system and offenders’ changing needs.
Workshop theme 2 will address the following three areas:
- The introduction and development of probation and community corrections systems,
- New approaches, innovations and effective practices in community-based treatment,
- Capacity building of professional staff.
3. Community-based Measures for Offenders with Special Needs
Since each offender has unique needs, treatment measures should be based on each offender’s individual needs and strengths. Therefore, probation officers and other practitioners provide supervision and treatment by focusing on offenders’ criminogenic needs, and they provide support and assistance to offenders by focusing on their own strengths and resources to encourage their rehabilitation.
Workshop theme 3 will address specific types of offenders, including juveniles, young adults, women, the elderly, ethnic minorities, chronic offenders, the unemployed, the homeless, sex offenders, substance abusers/addicts, mentally, developmentally or physically disordered or disabled offenders, and radicalized offenders, as well as a variety of measures including treatment programs based on psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, intervention in residential facilities, employment and housing support, multi-agency cooperation strategies and methods which utilize new technology such as artificial intelligence. Social, cultural and geographical diversity should be taken into consideration in the provision of treatment.
Workshop theme 3 will address the following three areas:
- Effective intervention for specific types of offenders,
- Various measures for effective treatment such as treatment programs based on psychological therapy and other innovative means (e.g., information technology, artificial intelligence (AI)),
- Intervention in residential facilities (e.g., halfway houses).
4. The Role of the Community in the Process of Offender Reintegration
One of the important purposes of probation and community corrections is to change offenders’ criminal and other problematic behavior, to sustain these changes and to promote offender reintegration in the community without the use of imprisonment. Probation officers and practitioners who supervise and assist offenders are vital in encouraging and sustaining these changes. Moreover, many researchers have emphasized the significance of social/community support for offenders. People, once convicted, may suffer from social stigmatization and may have difficulty living as law-abiding citizens in the community. Thus, the understanding and support of the community is crucial for offender reintegration, and how the community accepts the offenders is a key issue for desistance from re-offending.
To this end, more effective approach for raising public understanding and participation in the community should be developed. Furthermore, a balanced response to the needs of the victim, offender and community should be realized.
Workshop theme 4 will address the following three areas:
- Activities and roles of those who support offender reintegration in the community (e.g., volunteers, private sector organizations, business sector, social firms, ex-offenders who have managed to live their lives without returning to crime), including their recruitment and training,
- Raising public understanding and participation in the community in terms of social reintegration of offenders,
- Appropriate, dignified and respectful responses to the needs and opinions of crime victims through the field of probation and community corrections, including restorative justice practice.