ISTEP Project: paving the way for Framework Decision 947
Publication date: 23-2-2012
The implementation of the Framework Decision (FD) 947 on probation is hot topic in the European criminal justice sector. Several countries have initiated a project, The Netherlands, Belgium (www.euprobationproject.eu) and the UK. The British project is ISTEP, lead by NOMS (National Offender Management Service UK), CEP is an assistant partner. Ioan Durnescu, lecturer at the University of Bucharest, Romania, is involved as a partner in the ISTEP project. In most countries the implementation of the FD is delayed. "I think it is crucial nowadays is to make sure that the implementation of the mutual trust instruments goes smooth and without major difficulties. The ISTEP project helps in this respect."
The full title of the ISTEP project is Implementation Support for Transfer of European Probation Sentences, more detailed information can be found in this project overview. It is also possible to download FD 947 at the website of the EU in the European Languages.
The importance of ISTEP
Among other things, a database on the agreements between the EU Member States will be established by ISTEP. "The database and other tools will be useful in the execution of the FD," says Ioan Durnescu. "The database will contain relevant and reliable information about probation legislation, practices and so on. Secondly, since it runs before and during the implementation of the Framework Decision it is able to anticipate and analyse the possible obstacles in the way of a right implementation. On the long run a good implementation of the FD will increase mutual understanding and mutual trust among member state and this is what we all want." The mutual trust between the Member States is crucial for the implementation of the FD. "At the basis of every sentiment of trust is information," explains Ioan Durnescu. "Countries need to have reliable information about each other's legislation and practices before starting to cooperate and transfer offenders. This is exactly what ISTEP is doing: help countries to know each other better so that they can communicate and cooperate more effectively."
Looking for more experts
The project is in the early stages of data collection and preliminary analysis. It is for this reason that Ioan Durnescu is calling out: "I would encourage more experts dealing with international cooperation from each EU country to get in contact with us and share their views or concerns about the FD implementation. We can use their help." As a partner the University of Bucharest collects the data from Central and Eastern Europe. "Our University belongs to this geographical and cultural area so it has contacts and a good understanding of the structures and the dynamics of it. The experts are doing excellent work, I am very grateful for that," concludes Ioan Durnescu.