By Pedro das Neves CEO of IPS_Innovative Prison Systems Director of the JUSTICE TRENDS Magazine
Editorial #1, June 2017
Leadership should not be a lonely experience
Exercising leadership can be as exciting and rewarding as a distressing and lonely experience, even when surrounded by many people. Deciding on other people´s lives, designing a new future for one person or an institution, being this someone in conflict with the law, a member of staff or a convicted inmate; leading a new policy development or managing substantial budgets and infrastructures in complex social and political environments requires preparation but also the openness to read, understand and learn with the world around us. When working with decision makers in the justice area in different parts of the world it became clear to me that the openness and the willingness to learn – with and from others, and from the context in which others are taking decisions – is a common characteristic of some of the most effective leaders I met. These leaders understand that when a vision, a strategic intent or even a problem that seems difficult to solve is shared among their peers, or with their staff and community partners, there is a wide range of possible reactions that may arise to inspire action. The JUSTICE TRENDS magazine aims to share recent trends as well as to join in a single publication different views, policies, challenges, ideas, best practices, actions and projects that have a positive impact in the justice area, in different parts of the world, brought here by the word of the ones that have/had to put them into practice. We are aware of the impossibility to cover all the regions in a single number of a magazine, or to cover all the topics that are relevant in each professional and regional context – we will work hard to take those to the next numbers – but we are confident that the following readings will stimulate reflections and learning around global contemporary topics related to correctional services, community sanctions and measures, and juvenile justice that are in the top of policy and decision makers’ agendas. Leadership should not be a lonely experience. It is definitely more exciting and rewarding when it is shared with others.
Editorial #2, January 2018
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. 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
JUSTICETRENDS 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
Editorial #3, June 2018
Prison as a last resort – The “Fata Morgana”(1) of criminal justice systems?
The acknowledgement of the negative impact of imprisonment on individuals, families and communities led, over the last three decades, to the development of multiple reports, policy recommendations and initiatives advocating for the reduction of the reliance on prisons. Deprivation of liberty as a last resort is foreseen in the Council of Europe Recommendation R (99) 22 on Prison Overcrowding and Prison Population Inflation, in the Preamble of the European Prison Rules 2006, and in the draft Resolution VIII of the Eight United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. (2) Despite all the efforts, this goal is far from being reached. The traditional desire for punishment and reparation keeps reinsuring prison as the default sentence, generating an over-use of prison systems. In this issue of the JUSTICE TRENDS magazine, we invite you to learn how some jurisdictions around the world are responding to prison over-population and over-crowding (and its related problems) by changing their sentencing laws, increasing the use of community sentences (supported or not by technology), introducing and strengthening restorative justice, reparation and restitution for victims, and re-educating the public opinion about the effectiveness of new sentencing policies. The promotion of community sentences – having in prison only the ones who really have to be in prison – is beneficial to individuals, their families and the community. Reducing the pressure generated by the prison overpopulation and overcrowding not only allows correctional administrations to focus on safety and security and on the individual needs of each person – and on the programmes that need to be put in place to promote their rehabilitation and social reintegration – but also to plan ahead, directing resources to deal with pressing problems (such as mental health, ageing, radicalisation and extremism, gangs and organised crime, as e.g.) while also tackling new challenges that every day arise from societal and technological changes.
Can imprisonment be the alternative sentence?
Enjoy reading the third edition of JUSTICE TRENDS magazine.
(1) Fata Morgana is the Italian name for Morgan le Fay (meaning “Morgan the Fairy”), a sorceress of medieval legends. This sister of the legendary King Arthur is sometimes portrayed as the ruler of the island paradise Avalon and is said to have had a number of magical powers, with which she caused a great deal of trouble. Among her powers, say some versions of the legend, was the ability to change shape, and she has been blamed for causing complex mirages over bodies of water, especially in the Strait of Messina. Today we know that such optical illusions are really caused by atmospheric conditions, but we still sometimes use “fata morgana” as a synonym of “mirage.”