Cooperation and knowledge sharing: a lever in the policy development process

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” ― Lemony Snicket

Through the ages, diverse social, economic and political events have determined the way the different criminal justice actors interact with each other, shaping the way justice institutions change and evolve. Sharing similar challenges, each prison and probation system is unique in its openness and closeness to society; how it nurtures or suppresses a culture of collaboration, initiative, and experimentation; in the way it encourages leaders to emerge at the different levels of the organisation, and certainly how it searches for solutions outside its physical – or mental – boundaries. While the half-century-old concepts that crafted the “open innovation” paradigm are not always known, understood or accepted as positive by traditional bureaucratic institutions, the perceived richness of their own idiosyncrasies often coexists with the certainty of the status quo and poor results. The involvement, in various formats, of the private, non-profit or for-profit sector as partners of prison and probation services proved to be effective, as new perspectives, ideas, and resources may allow the development of new concepts, processes or technology aiming to achieve not simply the immediate prison or probation service goals, but wider shared societal goals.
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International institutions and sectoral professional organisations provide forums and regular opportunities for prison and probation services leaders – and, in some cases, private sector representatives – to get together, putting forward and discussing different perspectives of the same subject. The engagement in these discussions at national, regional or international level – about the modernization of the execution of justice and its wider impact in society – the awareness of different realities and solutions, and the involvement of external third parties are of crucial importance in influencing the political discussion or setting the agenda for policy reform. Supporting events that may allow you to act as a policy entrepreneur and identify the windows of opportunity requires knowledge, preparation and the existence of broader alliances that may ensure you the necessary leverage. To contribute to the understanding of different views, policies, practices, and projects that have a positive impact in the justice area in different parts of the world and provide you with relevant arguments to support policy development processes are also why the JUSTICE TRENDS magazine exists. When you’re not prepared, other policy entrepreneurs will be… And it is not certain that they’ll be pushing for your prison or probation service agenda, at least not in the direction that you may desire. Enjoy reading the second issue of JUSTICE TRENDS magazine!

Pedro das Neves

JUSTICE TRENDS Magazine Founder & Director CEO of IPS_Innovative Prison Systems
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