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Recommendation R(97)12 on staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures - memorandum

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Dernière modification : 10 août 2010

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to Recommendation R(97)12 on staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 September 1997, at the 600th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)


The Council of Europe has a long history of establishing principles on penal policy for the control of crime and effective ways of dealing with suspected and sentenced offenders which, at the same time, respect their human rights. In this context the need to secure a high level of competence among prison staff through careful recruitment, selection and training was recognised more than thirty years ago and culminated in Resolution (66) 26 on the status, recruitment and training of prison staff and Resolution (68) 24 on the status, recruitment and training of governing grades of staff of penal establishments.

Since then there have been important developments in penal thinking both about sanctions and measures and their implementation as well as in professional and administrative practice. These developments come to expression inter alia in Recommendation No. (87) 3 – the European Prison Rules – and Recommendation No. (92) 16 – the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures. Among these developments, the following are of particular significance :

– the desirability of reducing reliance on imprisonment as much as possible ;

– the desirability of reducing the traditional isolation of the prison from the external world as much as possible ;

– an increasing awareness of the human rights retained by suspected and sentenced offenders, and

– the need to use the human and financial resources of the services responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures as efficiently and effectively as possible.

A necessary condition for the implementation of custodial and community sanctions and measures in accordance with the European Prison Rules and the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures, and with regard to the particular developments mentioned in the previous paragraph, is that staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures are capable of meeting new and exacting demands. This consideration led the European Committee on Crime Problems to set up a Committee of Experts on Staff concerned with the Implementation of Sanctions (PC-PP) to prepare a draft recommendation on this question.

The final terms of reference for the committee of experts (PC-PP) required it to consider in the light of existing texts, the status, recruitment, initial and continued training of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, the possibilities of mobility between categories of staff concerned with custodial or community sanctions and measures, and to prepare a set of European ethical guidelines for such staff and national use.

The committee was composed of experts from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland. Experts from the Russian Federation also took part in the work. Representatives of the Conférence Permanente Européenne de la Probation (CEP) participated as observers. Mr Jörgen Balder (Denmark) was elected chairman of the committee. Since the committee included representatives from central administrations, specialised field workers and those responsible for training, its composition was of well-balanced character. Two scientific experts – Mr Jean-Pierre Robert (France) and Mr Norman Bishop (Sweden) – were appointed to assist the committee. In accordance with its terms of reference, the committee of experts in the course of its work received written statements from, and held hearings with, two associations representing staff – the "Association Européenne pour le Travail Social dans la Justice" and the European Public Services Committee.

The committee held seven meetings between November 1993 and December 1996. A preliminary draft recommendation was prepared on the basis of answers to a detailed questionnaire which was sent to the heads of delegations to the European Committee on Crime Problems as well as other documentation supplied by them by the Conférence Permanente Européenne de la Probation (CEP) and by the Correctional Service of Canada. In the course of its work, the committee examined the current situation in member countries concerning both policy and practice on recruitment, selection, training and status of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions together with information on existing ethical norms. The relevant United Nations instruments, notably the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, were also used as source material.

The text of the draft recommendation and its explanatory memorandum were finalised at the seventh meeting of the committee of experts held in December 1996 and presented for approval and transmission to the Committee of Ministers at the 46th plenary session of the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), held in June 1997. At the 600th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (10 September 1997), the Committee of Ministers adopted the draft recommendation and authorised the publication of the explanatory memorandum thereto.

Commentary on the preamble to the recommendation

The importance of Resolutions (66) 26 and (68) 24 dealing with the status, recruitment, selection and training of prison staff is recognised early in the preamble since a number of specific recommendations made in these two resolutions have continuing validity. Particular mention should be made here of the proposals made in Resolution (66) 26 to enlarge the function of basic grade prison staff so as to associate them with modern methods of treatment. But the present recommendation also recognises that changes in penal, administrative and professional practice – examples of which are given in the introduction to the explanatory memorandum – have come about and necessitate an updating of the earlier resolutions. An updated recommendation on the status, recruitment, selection and training of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures would also supplement the principles laid down in the European Prison Rules, Recommendation No.R (87) 3, and the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures, Recommendation No. R (92) 16.

The preamble asserts that the satisfactory implementation of the purposes of community and custodial sanctions and measures can only be carried out by a staff which is competent, qualified and committed to the difficult work entailed. This work is complex since, as the preamble notes, there are several purposes of sanctions and measures. This is an important qualification which recognises that there is no one purpose that can be said to constitute the exclusive aim of implementation. Sanctions are expected, for example, to exercise a deterrent effect, to express the community’s reprobation of a criminal act, to provide the community with some degree of security from criminal acts and at the same time to offer help to offenders to lead crime-free lives. The various purposes necessitate in their turn a careful selection and balancing of the kind of help offered to, and control exercised over, individual offenders. Furthermore, the effective use of help and control increasingly requires a knowledgeable collaboration between staff working with custodial sanctions and measures and those working with community sanctions and measures. This is particularly the case with sanctions which combine custodial and community components as well as with the supervision of conditionally released prisoners.

In order to enhance the quality of this collaboration, the preamble suggests that the mobility of staff between the custodial and community sectors is worthy of consideration.

The need for a highly competent staff at all levels begins with the recruitment and selection of persons with the necessary qualifications and qualities of character and personality. This initial requirement has, however, to be supplemented by offering staff the possibility to continuously develop knowledge and skills both to accomplish present tasks and to creatively meet the new challenges which inevitably emerge in a changing world. Such training is also necessary since staff are increasingly called upon to deal with offenders who manifest difficult characteristics, present severe problems of social maladjustment and whose criminality often poses a real threat to society. Given the desirability of mutual understanding and collaboration between staffs working in the custodial and community fields of action, it is clearly of importance that the recruitment, selection and training of staff be undertaken in accordance with principles that make for a unified approach to their implementation responsibilities based on a shared knowledge of aims and working methods.

Staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures are carrying out essential functions in connection with the control of crime on behalf of the community. The preamble notes the importance of their having a status and conditions of employment commensurate with the demanding nature of their work.

Finally, having regard to the increased importance attached to respecting the rights of offenders, the preamble affirms the importance of making explicit the ethical basis which should inform the work of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures.

In consequence of the foregoing, the recommendation concludes by urging the governments of member states to be guided by the principles contained in the five sections of Appendix I. It also urges action to draw up national ethical guidelines in accordance with the European ethical guidelines contained in Appendix II. Where national ethical guidelines already exist, they should be adapted, if necessary, so as to be in accord with the European ethical guidelines.

Commentary on Appendix I

Principles for the recruitment, selection, training, conditions of work and mobility of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures


The terminology used in the appendices to the recommendation is described and defined in a section following the appendices.

It should be noted that the term "sanctions and measures" covers both custodial and community sanctions. The definition of community sanctions and measures is based on that given in the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures.

The term "staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures" is defined so as to limit the scope of the recommendation to staff with operational or managerial responsibility for implementation. On the other hand, the term includes staff with responsibility for the implementation of both community and custodial sanctions and measures.

Implementation in many countries encompasses persons who are suspected of crime as well those who have been convicted of crime. Since the former are to be considered innocent until proved guilty, it is inappropriate to refer to them as "offenders". Hence, the text refers to suspected and sentenced offenders where both categories of persons are meant. Examples of measures used with suspected offenders are given in the section on terminology.

The precepts contained in the guidelines have compelling ethical force. The verb form "must" has been chosen to emphasise this fact.

I. General principles

Principle 1 – Staff policy to be described in a formal policy document or documents

The staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures represent an important investment in human resources for the carrying out of a range of difficult tasks. Considered from the point of view of the costs of a full professional career, the investment can also be seen as a sizeable financial investment. For the implementation of sanctions and measures to be carried out successfully, the staff, seen as the major instrument of implementation, must know what is expected of them in terms of their duties, responsibilities and approach to their work. They must also understand the implications for recruitment to, and selection for, the various posts in the service or services concerned, in particular with reference to managerial responsibilities and conditions of work.

The principle requires, therefore, that policy concerning these matters should be explicitly stated in a formal document or documents. The information conveyed should be comprehensive and include a statement of the purposes of the implementation of sanctions and measures. The implications of these purposes for the broad nature of the responsibilities to be assumed by the staff and the general conditions of work should be described. The essential values which should act as guiding principles for implementation should be formulated with particular reference to requirements derived from national adherence to international human rights instruments, notably the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures and the European Prison Rules.

Adherence to the policy is likely to be enhanced if a policy document (or documents) on staff duties, responsibilities, approach to implementation work, conditions of work, etc., is formulated in collaboration with the staff. The form of collaboration can vary. For instance, in addition to formal consultation with the professional representatives of the staff, it may enhance involvement if staff working groups are set up to deal with particular topics and make suggestions.

The staff policy statement should lead to continuous efforts to improve the quality of staff practice. A staff policy document which exists only on paper runs the risk of creating staff cynicism and apathy instead of interest and involvement. For this reason, the principle requires that adequate financial resources are made available to carry the policy aims into practice.

Principle 2 – Staff policy to be subject to review

The sanction system is always subject to factors making for change. New sanctions and measures are brought into being, new knowledge about effective procedures becomes available, new technologies offer new possibilities, new awareness arises concerning ethical responsibilities, and general social and political contexts change over time. Such fluctuations can be expected to require modifications of staff policy. In consequence, the policy document(s) should be reviewed both when circumstances make this essential as well as more routinely from time to time to ensure that it has not lost actuality. Modifications to the policy document should be made as necessary. The procedures for the review and possible modification of the policy document(s) should include consultation in some appropriate form with the staff.

Principle 3 – Quantity and quality of staff

It cannot be reiterated too often that the staff constitute the essential instrument for the implementation of sanctions and measures. Effective implementation requires that a sufficient number of staff be available to carry out the various tasks which are implicit in implementation since work with offenders is staff intensive.

It is equally important that the staff possess the qualities of personality and the strength of character which will enable them to work fruitfully with their designated tasks. These tasks will include not only the primary task of face-to-face work with offenders but also a variety of leadership, administrative, managerial, planning and training duties in support of the primary task. The staff working with all these different functions should possess the necessary professional qualifications. In short, the principle asserts the importance of ensuring that the quantity and quality of the staff is adequate for the whole range of tasks that must be accomplished in pursuit of effective implementation.

II. Recruitment and selection

Principle 4 – Recruitment and selection principles broadly applicable to all levels of the organisation

Recruitment and selection are often thought of chiefly in connection with initial entry into the service or services concerned with the implementation of sanctions. It is, however, important to see recruitment and selection as a continuous process. Initial entry procedures should seek to secure a body of persons not only able to perform given tasks well but also with the potential for future development. Recruitment and selection procedures come into play when vacancies for other posts must be filled.

The principles concerning recruitment and selection are not, therefore, limited to initial entry procedures but apply generally to recruitment and selection for any post within the service concerned.

Principle 5 – Use of job descriptions

The general purpose of good selection procedures is to make it possible to attract, select and retain suitable applicants. Conversely, the aim of such procedures can be said to be to exclude as far as possible that unsuitable persons apply for a given job, or if they apply, that they are not selected. A further ambition is to avoid staff wastage through selected recruits experiencing so much disappointment or dissatisfaction with their employment that they decide to leave it. Such wastage often means that significant human and financial resources belonging to the employing body are dissipated. Not only has money been spent on recruitment, selection and training to no avail but the necessity of replacing staff who leave prematurely means repeating the procedures.

The use of new methods and the development of new forms of organisation, often in the context of budgetary restraint, emphasises the need to recruit, select and retain competent staff. The search for competence can be seen as the over-riding purpose of all recruitment and selection procedures. Competence refers to the possession or acquisition of the skills required to perform specified kinds of work.

The principle addresses these issues by stating that a careful job description should be the basis of recruitment and selection procedures. Such a description should fulfil certain criteria. It should be clear and concrete rather than vague. The specific aims, duties and responsibilities attaching to the post to be filled should be carefully described. The conditions of employment need to be stated. The latter should give some account of promotion possibilities.

Principle 6 – Recruitment needs to be widely publicised

The recruitment of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures should always be limited to those possessing the necessary qualifications and personality characteristics. But within these parameters, a diversity of persons with a diversity of experience can be suitable. This emphasises the need for the wide publicising of recruitment needs and selection criteria. In addition to the printed word, recent years have seen much technological development for the dissemination of information by other means. The possibilities afforded by advertising through television and the Internet, for example, should not be overlooked.

Principle 7 – Qualities to be looked for in applicants

It is an obvious consideration that those recruited into the service concerned should be physically suitable for the tasks to be undertaken and possess good mental health. Among the other essential qualities to be looked for among those applying for a post at any organisational level, educational attainment will be important. However, the principle does not lay down a specific level of education as a requirement since this will depend upon the nature of the work to be undertaken. As a general rule it can be said that in certain member states a prison officer is expected to have completed at least secondary grammar school education ("gymnasium") whilst for higher posts in the prison services an academic qualification is usually necessary. Professional probation officers should have an academic background. An academic qualification includes that given by a recognised school of social work.

A further important criterion is that those working in any capacity with offenders subject to sanctions or measures must be of good character. At its most extreme, this criterion is intended to act as a guarantee against corruption. More generally, however, the possession of a good character enables members of staff to be perceived and respected as law-abiding, honest and reliable members of society.

The representatives of the service or services responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures must be seen in this light by offenders, by the judicial community, by those working in collaborating administrations and organisations, by politicians and by the public in general. Unless this is so the service concerned will be in danger of forfeiting credibility and the fundamental basis for its work. At the same time, it should be pointed out that the possession of a good character does not necessarily mean that a staff member must have had a completely blameless past. In this context it should be noted that many countries have legislation which expunges a criminal record and does not allow reference to it providing that a certain number of years without criminal behaviour have passed.

As with education, the nature of suitable qualifying experience will depend to no small extent on the nature of the work to be done. For those recruited to work in face-to-face situations with offenders, previous experience in working with human beings, especially those who in some way present special problems or have special needs, may well provide important indications about suitability. For those recruited to work with higher administrative tasks, previous experience of senior management would seem to be important. However, it should be remembered that experience is not only a question of what work the individual has done in the course of professional life but even more importantly what has been learned in the course of doing it. The individual may, therefore, not have had direct experience of the work for which he or she is being recruited but may still have given proof in another work or life situation of the ability to learn and develop in the face of challenge or crisis. It is not unknown for rehabilitated drug addicts or alcoholics to be recruited who can use their earlier negative life experience to bring a special dimension into work with drug misusing offenders. Caution, of course, must be exercised in making such appointments. Nevertheless, they cannot be ruled out a priori.

Over and above the formal qualifications of suitable education and previous experience, it is of the greatest importance that those working with the implementation of sanctions and measures have special qualities of personality. Applicants should have a stable personality, one that is able to ride out difficulties and disappointments and deal calmly and effectively with crises. Stability of personality should, however, be supplemented by flexibility of mind. This characteristic may be defined as the ability to freely mobilise and apply learning from other areas of activity or experience. It is a necessary condition of creativity in work.

The demanding nature of work with offenders and of supporting and managing such work, means that a high degree of motivation for any given job is required. Motivation is often linked to the ability to make good human relationships. The latter ability includes the capacity for empathy, understanding and communication combined with a sincere desire to help, personal integrity and moral courage. Irrespective of the tasks to be undertaken or the function to be exercised, the importance of the ability to make and maintain good human relationships cannot be overestimated.

A willingness to learn and adapt to change is also emphasised in the principle since the whole field of action in connection with implementation work is extremely complex. It takes place at the meeting point of legislative norms, judicial decision making, professional expertise in helping and controlling offenders and the management of such work. Change is constantly occurring in all of these areas. Continuous learning is necessary for the effective carrying out of the multiplicity of changing tasks and challenges.

Principle 8 – Recruitment and selection procedures

A fair and just recruitment and assessment of applicants for any post presupposes that they know how and by whom they will be judged. In consequence, the procedures followed should be made known in clear terms and it is a sine qua non that they should be manifestly fair, impartial and non-discriminatory. The person or body of persons deciding on acceptance or rejection should be persons of integrity and with an experience relevant to the decisions they are called on to take. Bias, favouritism and a lack of competence on the part of the person or body of persons deciding on acceptance or rejection have no place in good recruitment and selection procedures.

Principle 9 – Measuring instruments

The personal characteristics of applicants are not infrequently assessed by the use of psychological tests, procedures or instruments. A standing difficulty with the elaboration of such tools is to ensure that they are unbiased, i.e. that they do not favour or disfavour particular individuals or groups. If they do, this has to be known and taken account of. Thus, for example, a test that is satisfactory when recruiting from an indigenous population might be biased when recruiting from an ethnic minority. Validation requires that the instrument is itself subjected to rigorous testing to determine its accuracy. A variety of statistical procedures are available for this purpose. The requirement of fairness in recruitment and selection procedures implies that any instruments used have been subjected to the necessary critical tests, and those administering them possess the ability to interpret the results correctly.

Principle 10 – Gender and ethnic representation

The principle of equality of opportunity and the necessity of taking account of the needs of a diversity of offenders make it essential to ensure that men and women are adequately represented at all levels of staff organisation.

In addition, the increased mobility of populations means that suspected or sentenced offender groups frequently are composed of a variety of nationalities or ethnic groups. These groups are not seldom of sizeable proportions. In consequence, consideration should be given to recruiting staff members who can meet the needs of such groups. Language and cultural differences are among the difficulties that can then be better dealt with. Broadly speaking, the profile of staff groups should approximate to that of the offender groups to be dealt with and take account of ethnic minority groups.

Principle 11 – Recruitment and selection to higher grades

As a general rule, recruitment and selection to the higher grades of a service should be based on practical professional experience. This not only provides the career opportunities that are necessary for an effective service but also ensures that management is based on a sound foundation and understanding of the operational work of implementation. However, the potentiality to build on this foundation by learning about and using managerial techniques and tools is essential. Faced with the changes that constantly take place in the sanction system, in professional methods of work and the managerial system that supports them, account has also to be taken of the need to meet new challenges with new approaches and special skills. Where recruitment from outside the service takes place it becomes especially important that the experience and aptitudes of such candidates are closely examined in order that the final selection may be of persons who are entirely suitable.

Principle 12 – Staff on contract

In a number of member countries, recent years have seen a considerable extension of privatisation. Staff are hired on contract or, alternatively, form part of a privatised service responsible to government for the implementation of sanctions and measures. Where the staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures are not part of a government service, it becomes especially important to ensure that they are fully competent to carry out the necessary tasks and assume the necessary responsibilities. Careful consideration must therefore be given to the procedures governing recruitment and selection so as to ensure that such staff possess the personal qualities and formal qualifications for their special functions and responsibilities.

Principle 13 – Service orientation for newly recruited staff

In a number of member countries it has been found that newly recruited staff sometimes experience such a degree of dissatisfaction with their work that they resign shortly after taking up their duties. As stated in the commentary to Principle 5, this involves the service concerned in serious resource wastage. Time and money spent on recruitment, selection and initial training has been wasted and must be repeated with new recruits. It is, therefore, an essential precaution to see that new entrants are carefully oriented on entry into the service. This means that they must be fully informed about the nature of their work and given a realistic perception of what it implies. The provision of opportunities for in situ observation and discussion with experienced personnel are important ways of doing this. Some of the more difficult aspects of work can be also be presented through role-playing situations.

III. Training

Principle 14 – Staff training to be matched to the tasks of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures.

The efficiency with which sanctions and measures are implemented, and therewith the correct functioning of the staff, requires that they be adequately trained. Thus, training, no matter what form it takes, should inter alia be congruent with the tasks incumbent upon the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures. This means that any changes of task should be reflected in staff training so that its content, methods and even the goals of training can be suitably modified. If, for example, the Probation Service is required to undertake pre-sentence inquiries for the courts, staff should be provided with the necessary information to enable them to meet the new requirements. This involves teaching them the social work methods that can be employed in a short-term context, as well as about how to communicate orally and in writing with the judicial authorities.

Since a qualified staff constitutes a guarantee of quality in the work of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures, it follows that the service(s) concerned must ensure that the staff possess appropriate professional qualifications equipping them to perform their duties correctly. This means that the staff must receive the basic training and any continued training that proves necessary. In effect, professional training is a necessity, and it should be an obligation for the staff to undertake it and for the service(s) concerned to provide it. Training should therefore be systematically provided from the moment of entry into the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, and all staff, at whatever level, should only be allowed to undertake their functions if they have received the necessary professional training.

Since Council of Europe member states are required to respect a number of common supranational norms, staff training should include a knowledge of the relevant international instruments, in particular, the Council of Europe recommendations in the field of penology, such as the European Prison Rules, the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures, the present recommendation on staff as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Principle 15 – The responsibility of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures for the training of staff.

In order to be considered professionally qualified for effective performance in a given function, new entrants in the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures should have undergone the necessary specific professional training. In some cases this training may have been provided prior to entry ; or a generic form of training may have been previously provided externally and would need to be supplemented by the service concerned so as to render it relevant to service requirements. This is the case, for example, with social workers working in the probation service, for whom this specific training is often given before recruitment and entry into the service. However, supplementary induction training should be provided where necessary. In other cases future staff of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures will not have received any specific professional training before recruitment. This applies frequently to prison officers.

Since this is a question of professional training, its provision is primarily the responsibility of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, with the initial training usually given by a specialised service body, e.g. a prison service training school, and, for continued training, by means of in-house, often decentralised, training activities.

However, the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures are not the only bodies capable of providing this training. Some types of specific professional training may be provided by separate outside bodies such as universities and specialised schools of training, etc. In such cases, it remains the responsibility of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures to ensure that the training provided is of satisfactory character.

Principle 16 – Purposes of initial training.

The basic aim of initial training is to ensure the staff’s professionalism, i.e. that it is indeed qualified and fully competent. By initial training is meant the training that allows a new entrant to any organisational level of the service(s) for the implementation of sanctions and measures – and usually of course the lowest level – to acquire the basic knowledge which will allow him/her to make a satisfactory start in exercising his/her function. This is a crucially important stage since it allows the new entrant to begin to understand a new field, a field about which he/she has until then only rudimentary knowledge.

The purposes of this training should be threefold. To begin with, it should specifically prepare or adapt the new entrant to do his/her work.

It should provide him/her with essential basic information about the content of the responsibilities to be exercised and how this should be done. This means the acquisition of knowledge, skills and experience of, for instance, sound practice and, in general, all that contributes to professional skill. The training should be designed to be immediately useful in the carrying out of professional tasks. But it should also be more than a mere apprenticeship in specific professional duties.

Secondly, training has the wider purpose of situating the job in its context, i.e. the environment in which the entrant will be working. This involves acquiring a basic understanding of the aims of the service together with knowledge about criminality, and social marginalisation in their social context. To this end, initial training should provide objective knowledge about the nature of criminality and the characteristics of offenders. It should be possible in this way to develop objective thinking and to neutralise prejudiced attitudes about criminality and offenders.

Thirdly, initial training should assist preparation for the exercise of a profession undertaken within the complexities of the criminal justice system, on the boundaries of judicial activity, thus acquiring an overview of the profession and its underlying values. This aspect has more to do with orientation and attitudes. Hence it is important that at this early stage new entrants should be able to acquire an understanding of the constituent parts of the service(s) for the implementation of sanctions and measures in order to be able to see their place in the system.

Principle 17 – Content of initial training and maintaining its relevance

The content of initial training should be congruent with its purposes and its programmes should be designed accordingly. Since it is directly focused on the exercise of certain skills, this training should comprise both theory and practice, combining theoretical learning about, inter alia, the nature of the work, interaction with the environment, and operational methods of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures with practical placements within or external to the service concerned. The initial training period should be used as an opportunity for information concerning practice and directed towards learning about it through constructive activities. This will make possible the development of individual aptitudes. It is especially important to provide for interaction between theory – without treating it negatively – and practice by using real-life examples to illustrate lectures and by providing feedback from information furnished during training periods so as to produce a foundation for integrated knowledge. Care should be taken, on the one hand, to avoid concentrating on training that is too remote from practical realities and, on the other, to avoid undervaluing the importance of a theoretical basis. It is only by welding together theory and practice that a realistic basis for action can be developed. A good practitioner always possesses a solid theoretical grounding.

One of the consequences of this necessary linkage is that the training period should be long enough to develop a satisfactory grasp of these two aspects. This cannot be a matter of proposing a specific length of time, but only of recommending that the chosen period for the training should be compatible with the required interaction between theory and practice.

The principle does not give an exhaustive list of topics that should be taught since this is the prerogative of member states, which, nevertheless, agree on the importance of a number of legal and professional topics, and since the curriculum may vary depending on whether training is designed for prison officers or probation officers. The principle does, however, emphasise two activities considered essential for carrying out assigned responsibilities. The first is the observation and interpretation of human behaviour since the individual offender, with his/her many sides and complexities, all of which have to be observed and understood, is the focal point of the staff’s field of study. The second is communication and the capacity to handle human relationships. The development of communication and relational techniques is tending to change methods for the performance of work tasks. In this context, the ability to listen, conflict and crisis resolution, mediation, interview methods and handling groups are indispensable tools for staff in charge of persons subject to measures or sanctions, or working with a variety of outside collaborators.

Finally, programmes should be updated, not only because knowledge is always provisional in character, but also to keep up with changes in the field of implementing sanctions and measures or with new factors affecting the goals and working methods of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, notably those changes having repercussions on the very nature of the duties involved. In this respect training should prepare staff for change, helping them to adapt to structural modifications, to changes in the penal population or to social change in general, in order to face new challenges. They should also be prepared to deal with new external developments that directly influence the aims and methods of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, for example, changes in employment policy or in the supervision of persons with special problems such as drug misusers and alcoholics.

Principle 18 – Initial training methods.

It is essential, in the interests of efficiency, that initial training make full use of the most up-to-date teaching methods and advanced techniques for transmitting knowledge, in particular, those deriving from modern communication techniques. The new technical possibilities available in this field constitute a substantial addition to traditional learning methods. They have the advantage of encouraging active participation by trainees. This does not exclude achieving such participation by more traditional methods, such as discussion of specific case problems, in, for instance, small discussion groups where human relations aspects are highlighted. In the same way, training courses should not be solely occasions for simple discovery but should also provide real opportunities for in-depth work and initiation into the assumption of task responsibilities albeit without the trainee having to shoulder real responsibilities except when under the supervision and responsibility of a qualified staff member. Certainly the methods used must enable training to focus on practical aspects of the job, encouraging independence of mind, flexibility and a readiness to understand and assess factual data.

Certain subjects of a technical character, as well as certain methods or techniques, may necessitate the use of teachers drawn from outside the service. This will be the case when, for example, service expertise is simply not available or where there is reason to think that the teaching can be more competently carried out by using external teachers. Initial training that is too inward-looking runs the risk of being cut off from the outside world. To achieve a good level of initial training a satisfactory balance must be struck between in-house training and recourse to external teachers.

Principle 19 – Verification of knowledge gained during initial training and evaluation of the trainees

The initial training process must provide positive input for job performance. It is for this reason that the principle requires checking on the knowledge the trainees have acquired. The term "knowledge" should be understood in a broad sense, encompassing not only the acquisition of information but also the degree of personality development, for example, self-awareness, maturity of judgement and an improved capacity to understand human relations. The initial training should also permit an evaluation of trainees in order to ensure that they are professionally qualified, and, where necessary, make possible the rejection of those unsuitable for the required work.

In consequence, the principle requires that the training process includes ways of making a fair assessment of trainees both during and at the end of the course of training using, for example, examinations, supervised practical work, etc. This necessary assessment should not be a mere formality. Rigorous assessment procedures are a guarantee of the professional quality of those who have been trained. In order to ensure fairness and maximum relevance, the criteria of assessment should be explicit and made known. Wherever possible, the assessment should be made by more than one person. Trainees should be given the possibility
of contesting the assessments made, especially where these are of subjective character.

Principle 20 – The aims of continued training

The aim of continued training should be the enhancement of the staff’s professional quality through the development of job-related and other relevant skills, thereby optimising the individual worker’s professional know-how and grasp of new methods. Such training has an add-on effect : it opens the door to new skills and maintains existing skills, always with the aim of the further development of staff professionalism.

Since continued training encourages greater professionalism, it should lead to a qualification in a particular subject or subjects which enjoys national recognition. Training of this kind is valuable since it helps to upgrade the importance of the professions in the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, thereby giving trainees a status which enables them to apply for equivalent jobs outside the service(s) concerned or within or even outside the criminal justice system, thus helping to break down barriers and open doors. This can be a two-way process. Persons from outside the service(s) with equivalent qualifications should be able to apply for jobs within the service(s). In general, a recognised qualification should help professions in the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures to achieve recognition outside the service. In addition, it facilitates interprofessional staff mobility, since an official qualification is a recognition of possession of the requisite qualitative knowledge.

It is for each member state to specify the specialisations concerned (for example, the profession of managing a prison or that of a social worker implementing sanctions and measures), the qualifications that may be awarded and the ways and means of obtaining them, qualification requirements, the equivalence criteria, etc.

The principle states that, as a general rule, continued training should be arranged in agreement with the staff concerned. This means that the staff should be consulted about the topics on which they wish to acquire a deeper knowledge and the course or sessions of continued training they wish to follow. In particular, consultation about continued training undertaken in conjunction with regular periodic appraisals can be expected to enhance staff motivation for such training. But consultation should not be undertaken solely at the instigation of the service concerned. Staff should feel free to initiate a request for continued training. The decision to accept or reject the request by the management of the service concerned should only be taken after consultation with the staff member concerned.

Under certain circumstances, training should be obligatory. To begin with, this should be so when, as a result of new developments, the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures is/are faced with new and decisive demands affecting the content
of work and requiring a modification of theoretical and practical knowledge. This occurs with the introduction of new tasks or working methods which necessitate supplementary staff training. In these circumstances, training should be provided as a matter of necessity before the change comes into effect. Continued training should also be obligatory when particular aspects of duties so require. This is the case, for example, where staff have to be trained to deal with potentially dangerous situations such as violence, suicide, accidents, fire, etc.

The growing importance of international exchanges, especially at the European level, and the free circulation of persons, including suspects and offenders, shows how important it is for all kinds and grades of staff, and certainly for managerial staff, to possess some international experience. Such experience is in itself an important aspect of training since it provides opportunities to broaden intellectual horizons and practical experience. Continued training should provide an opportunity to furnish staff with the rudiments of this kind of experience when it corresponds to a legitimate need to advance a staff member’s personal development or responds to a service requirement, for instance, learning about new working and organisational methods. Providing for international experience might entail the staff member learning a second language.

Principle 21 – Content of continued training

Since the purpose of continued training is to enable staff members to enrich their theoretical and practical knowledge about their profession, the subjects covered should be related to work-relevant needs expressed by the personnel concerned. For this reason, procedures should be instituted in close consultation with staff so that these needs can come to expression.

The subjects that can be covered as part of continued training and the forms such training can take are extremely varied. To avoid the risk of losing focus, the content of these forms and subjects should, therefore, be defined as precisely as possible. In particular, this means that content should be related to professional practice and be useful for furthering the staff member’s knowledge and strengthening his or her skills. In this connection, staff should be given opportunities to learn about relevant research methods and findings with a view to their making use of them in their professional practice.

Principle 22 – Training for promotion

Promotion normally rewards recognised skills that are acquired, inter alia, through appropriate training. Continued training should thus be an important factor in the promotion process. Every effort should be made, in the name of equality of opportunity, to see that the system caters for career development by giving all staff a chance to develop their potential. Staff should be able to move forward in their careers through a system of competitions and examinations made attainable by opportunities for continued training. This constitutes a factor of importance for commitment to the service and reinforces the staff’s professional status. In this way, the service for the implementation of sanctions and measures becomes a learning organisation which prepares its staff to carry out higher grade functions.

Principle 23 – Importance of external resources for continued training

Without denying the value of organising in-house continued training, under, for example, the supervision of experienced professionals, there can be no doubt that using external specialists makes for an additional enrichment if only because of the value of the contributions that specialised staff from other services or from training institutions can make.

The organisation of such training from outside the service responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures helps to break down barriers between staff, who, confronted with a different framework of reference and being brought into contact with persons having different intellectual horizons from their own, acquire a far broader outlook. This occurs, for instance, when training involves the study of management problems in other public services, industrial enterprises, etc.

Principle 24 – Arrangements for training sessions during working time

The principle whereby staff should normally be allowed to attend continued training courses during working hours sometimes clashes with overriding service requirements, for instance those resulting from a shortage of staff. This gives rise to resistance to any form of absence, and hence to staff members being given time to attend a training course. As a result of these two irreconcilable needs, it is with great difficulty that staff find the necessary time for training during working hours. To attend outside courses or a course lasting a certain length of time, staff members may have to use vacation days or temporarily arrange to work shorter hours. In order to reconcile the right to continued training with the operational requirements of the service(s) for the implementation of sanctions and measures, all necessary arrangements should be made in advance to adapt working time to allow for in-service training, for example, through training time entitlements or training leaves. If it does not seem advisable to replace absent staff on a regular basis, absence for training, particularly long-term absences, should at least be taken into account in the assessment of overall staffing requirements, so that an unacceptable burden does not fall on other service personnel.

The need for continued training during working hours certainly does not preclude staff from devoting off-duty time to personal work with a view to completing work undertaken during training sessions.

Principle 25 – Common courses for several categories of staff

A number of studies have shown that work can be rendered totally ineffective simply because some categories of staff are insufficiently familiar with the nature of the work done by others. This unfamiliarity may prevent co-operation and, in extreme cases, may lead to conflict between different categories of staff. This is particularly true in the prison context.

Continued training can be a particularly useful way of promoting opportunities for contacts between different categories of staff through joint training courses, i.e. courses whose content and modes of organisation are flexible enough to appeal to people performing different functions (e.g. prison officers and social workers) or occupying different ranks (e.g. basic grade and managerial staff). Another, indirect, advantage is better knowledge about what other people do and therewith a clearer picture of the functions of each member of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures. This facilitates communication between the categories concerned and makes possible an improved collaboration.

This approach is particularly useful since prison and probation staff often have to deal jointly with service matters in multidisciplinary teams, for example, preparing for a prisoner’s conditional release. This teamwork is facilitated when the different categories of staff know each other well and have learned to work together.

Principle 26 – Management training

The management of the service(s) responsible for implementing sanctions and measures has become more difficult, especially concerning the management of human resources, since this often has to be carried out in the face of budgetary constraints and having to deal with groups of difficult offenders. This means that special attention must be paid to management and hence to management training. The question is complicated by the fact that management has to satisfy a variety of criteria. A good manager of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures must be able to (a) administer an organisation efficiently, through knowing that organisation well (a prison or a probation service), (b) provide team leadership, and in particular to resolve conflicts and (c) possess the requisite skills to make sure that the service functions in a context of partnership, by mobilising external resources.

To be effective, management training should cover all these areas and be consistent with the content and theoretical basis of the type of management adopted. It should offer a wide range of programmes, especially in terms of methods, based on an analysis of the organisation’s requirements and the trainee’s needs. Special attention should be paid to the question of delegation of responsibilities, which is crucial in management. A manager can only with difficulty deal with situations on his/her own. It is essential to work with, and delegate to, a team, which will be better able to cope with multiple problems and resolve any difficulties and conflicts that may arise, because it will have a wide-ranging knowledge of the different fields.

Management training, congruent with the type of responsibilities to be assumed, that is, adapted to take account of different staff grades and management requirements, should be compulsory. This should also be the case with middle management staff who, although they do not belong to the highest managerial grades, directly manage a work unit. Such staff occupy a key strategic position in the middle of the hierarchy of the service(s) responsible for implementing sanctions and measures.

Principle 27 – Training evaluation

In addition to assessment from time to time in the course of training programmes, training schemes should be systematically, and preferably scientifically, assessed to make sure they are effective and based on a sound approach. This should be done with all forms of training – initial training, continued training and management training.

Evaluation should thus comprise an analysis of training content and methods, and measure the impact of training on staff performance. It should also take account of the conditions in which the knowledge acquired is applied.

The ultimate purpose of evaluation should naturally be to enable staff to perform their tasks more effectively, with self-confidence and motivation to go on learning. This means determining what modifications might be necessary in training conditions, content and methods. In addition, evaluations should also include ascertaining how the results of training are actually applied in practice.

Principle 28 – The choice of training staff

A wide spectrum of training schemes necessitates a wide range of training staff since the kinds of competence required are not the same. For example, different skills are required for the initial training of prison officers and for the management training of supervisory staff. Training staff may be called on to perform different kinds of tasks – as teachers, training course supervisors, group leaders, etc. Training staff may be part of the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures or be external trainers. They should, therefore, be selected on the broadest possible basis.

The need to call on training staff from a wide range of professional backgrounds makes it possible to set up multidisciplinary teams, thereby enriching the content of training and avoiding the risk of narrowness.

Training staff should possess both strictly professional and human qualities. They should have wide theoretical and practical professional experience not only of the national situation but also of the extra-national situation, especially at European level. They should possess the well-grounded skills that are a proof of professionalism as well as human qualities, a knowledge of individual and group psychology, open-mindedness and an ability to listen.

Principle 29 – Recruitment and training of training staff

It is essential to ensure that people recruited to take part in the training process really possess the human and professional qualities required to carry out their functions. Consequently training staff selection procedures should be carefully defined. Though these procedures may vary in accordance with existing national law, they must be well designed and based on objective procedures in order to verify professional qualifications, that is, to test for the required aptitudes. The selection procedures should also ensure that applicants possess the human qualities that will make them effective teachers.

Training staff should themselves receive an appropriate training relevant to the exercise of their functions as and when necessary. In particular, they should be offered opportunities to up-date their knowledge and practical experience as well as undertake pertinent forms of re-training concerning pedagogic methods since their duties presuppose possession of a high degree of professionalism in relation to knowledge and its transmission. Such training should be provided at the start of their training duties or in the course of such duties. And any changes with consequences for general staff training should be reflected in corresponding modifications to the training of training personnel.

Principle 30 – Situation of training personnel drawn from the sanctions and measures implementation services

The principle requires that when training staff are drawn from the staff of a service concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, their position and functions should be clearly defined. This is necessary because when training staff are drawn from the ordinary staff of a service, ambiguities about the performance of their duties can arise. The ambiguities can concern such matters as the scope of the duties, the time required for them, to whom such training staff are responsible, and the perception that other staff have of them. Similar difficulties are particularly likely to arise where the training duties are of temporary character or are to be carried out alongside other "normal" activities. It is therefore important, in accordance with the principle, to define clearly the position and functions of training staff drawn from the ordinary staff. It is obviously necessary to ensure that this defined position and function is known in the staff circles likely to be affected.

A further question concerns the maintenance of a firm contact with field workers, since a good instructor is one who is involved in an on-going exchange of information with practitioners. It is vital, in order to avoid any divorce from the world of practice, for training staff to be periodically refreshed through a return to professional practice. Training staff should, therefore, be enabled to take up field activities again for the purpose of keeping their knowledge and experience of practice up-to-date. This is both in the interest of ensuring good training and the professional development of the individual.

Finally, any significant amount of time spent as a trainer by a staff member of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures – that is time spent on a professional activity – should be taken into consideration, as when considering his/her career development, for example, as a supplemental factor for advancement.

Principle 31 – Adequacy of budgetary resources for training

The efficiency of staff performance largely depends on how they have been trained, and how they continue to be trained during their career. The short- and long-term benefits of training doubtless far outweigh its financial cost. For this reason appropriate budgetary resources should be allocated for training. The survey carried out as part of the work of the PC-PP committee showed that member states earmark a relatively small proportion of their budget for training prison and probation staff. The principle does not set forth any quantitative guidelines, but rather establishes a qualitative criterion which links the provision of financial resources to the training needs of all categories of staff, so that pre-determined goals can be achieved, and, in particular, so that new knowledge can be gained.

An illustration of the needs/resources equation is provided by the second part of the principle concerning the correspondence that should exist between, on the one hand, substantial policy changes in the implementation of sanctions and measures entailing consequences for staff training, and, on the other, the provision of suitable budgetary resources. This situation can arise when a new policy towards a particular category of suspected or sentenced offenders – drug misusers, for example – has to be implemented. This could create a need for new methods of dealing with these persons and hence for the acquisition of appropriate new skills.

For the reasons given, the proportion of the budget earmarked for training should be subject to continual reassessment, especially when requests for budget allocations are being prepared.

Principle 32 – Budget for decentralised training activities

One important reason for decentralisation is that efficiency is increased when decisions are taken as closely as possible to the level at which they are carried out. In the same way, efforts can be made to locate training as near as possible to the place where it will be put into practice in order to avoid wastage of time and to encourage closer contact with field conditions. But decentralisation can only work properly if it is accompanied by a special allocation of budgetary resources. It is therefore essential that decentralised training activities, whether at regional or local level, should have their own budget. However, the decentralisation of training activities with decentralised budgetary resources may well lead to a wide range of operations, some of which will be of better quality than others. Achieving greater effectiveness requires a system of management which can monitor them with a view to developing and extending those found to be the most useful.

Principle 33 – Training of specialist staff

The work of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures involves, alongside the regular staff, other categories of specialised professionals. These include doctors, ministers of religion, sports instructors, teachers, technical instructors, psychologists, psychiatrists, legal advisers, etc. These specialists perform truly specialised tasks, exercising their own professional skills within the criminal justice system. With account taken of their general or specialised knowledge of the services(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures, they should accordingly be offered an initial training period of appropriate and pre-determined length either when they join the service or at the latest soon after they start work. The essential purpose of this training is to assist their adaptation to their new working environment by enabling them to find out and understand the broad outlines of service organisation and functioning, and make them aware of the main problems that arise in order that they may see how their own contribution fits in.

This adaptation training can take many forms including introductory lectures for new entrants, placement with a colleague experienced in the work, etc. These requirements, which are designed to make sure that specialised staff are really qualified to work within the environment for the implementation of sanctions and measures, should also be applicable to part-time specialists.

It should also be possible to provide them with any supplementary training relevant to the performance of their duties, for example, group discussion with the staff of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures. Such discussions should focus on problems concerning particular categories of suspected or sentenced offenders, special forms of measures and sanctions such as preparations for conditional release or the implementation of intensive probation measures, etc.

IV. Conditions of work and management responsibilities

Principle 34 – Policy statement of fundamental principles

The principle emphasises the importance of staff being aware of the fundamental principles which constitute the framework for their work. These principles should come to expression in permanent written form and be updated as necessary. A policy document should, therefore, be drawn up and every effort made to ensure that the staff are fully aware of its contents. The general aims of implementation work should be described as should the fundamental principles which govern its execution. In this connection the obligations of staff to act in accordance with national obligations arising from adherence to human rights instruments should be stressed. The ethical values which should inform all work (see Appendix II) should also be brought to the attention of staff. Finally, the policy statement should contain an overview of the work methods to be adopted for the implementation of sanctions and measures.

Principle 35 – Staff consultation to prepare the policy statement

It has been the experience of a number of national administrations that have prepared policy documents on the fundamental principles governing implementation work that the preparation and subsequent updating of the policy document referred to in the previous principle should be undertaken from the outset in close consultation with the staff. By so doing, information about the document is likely to be constructively disseminated and staff interest and involvement assured.

Principle 36 – Policy document to apply to the implementation of community and custodial sanctions and measures

Increasingly the work of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures calls for a close co-operation between those responsible for implementing community sanctions and measures and those responsible for implementing custodial sanctions and measures. In some countries the implementation authority deals with both kinds of sanctions and measures. In other countries they are dealt with by separate administrations. Irrespective of the national administrative structure, it is of the highest importance that those responsible for the implementation of the two kinds of sanctions and measures work together in a spirit of understanding so that full collaboration is achieved. For this reason the policy to be followed should be outlined in a document covering the activities of both categories of staff. Should it be necessary to publish more than one policy statement because more than one organisation is involved in implementation work, it is important to ensure that the statements are in harmony and provide a common basis for joint work.

Principle 37 – Implementation objectives

The policy document referred to above is essentially a statement of broad principles, values and approaches. However, budgetary constraints increasingly oblige services to demonstrate efficiency in their use of allocated resources. The policy document needs, therefore, to be supplemented by a plan providing for specific objectives to be achieved over relatively short time periods, for example, one to three years. In principle, the specific objectives should be combined with performance indicators so that achievement levels can be measured. The provision of a plan with stated strategies, objectives and performance criteria makes it possible to follow up and evaluate the effectiveness of what has been done. Hence the plan to achieve stated objectives implies that follow-up procedures are devised which not only show the extent to which the objectives were attained but also the obstacles to attainment. Such methods make for increasing knowledge and therewith improve professional capacity. However, it is essential that the objectives set are realistic and potentially attainable. If the proposed objectives are impossibly ambitious, the likelihood of attaining them is sharply reduced. A subsequent follow-up and evaluation showing that the impossible was not attained benefits no-one and, instead of stimulating staff to further efforts on the basis of solid information, is likely only to alienate them. Nor should it be forgotten that objectives can be of a qualitative nature as well quantitative.

It is important too to ensure that the performance indicators used are not merely those that permit simple statistical measurement. They should, in addition, have a theoretical connection and realistic affinity with the objectives. Thus, for example, extreme caution should be exercised when using recidivism figures as an outcome measurement since recidivism is powerfully affected by factors having nothing to do with the sanction or measure implemented, inter alia, the level of hidden criminality for different offences and the extent to which police activity is focused on particular crimes or criminals.

As with the policy document, the staff’s views should be sought and taken account of when setting the objectives in order that the objectives and performance indicators chosen are sensible and reasonable and likely to commit the staff to efforts to enhance effectiveness.

Principle 38 – Implementation methods

The attainment of objectives cannot be considered apart from the methods to be employed. The identification of improved implementation methods is, therefore, of central significance. Some of the factors involved in the choice of methods include the financial resources necessary, the numbers of staff to be employed, the specific skills to be used and the nature of a preparatory training. The successful choice of methods, bearing in mind the various factors which influence that choice, calls for a high degree of professional creativity and responsibility on the part of those involved. This is true whether they are working in face-to-face contact with offenders or in more managerial positions. Affirming, maintaining and developing professional identity – manifested, for example, as professional responsibility, curiosity, creativity and insight – is essential to using and improving implementation methods. It is a vital responsibility of management at any organisational level of an implementation authority.

Principle 39 – Professional learning opportunities

The principle states that professional identity is based on understanding and ethically applying a body of specialised and developing knowledge and work skills. Staff of all grades and categories need, therefore, to be able to learn about developments both in their own or an associated field of activity. This learning should be encouraged by the routine provision of a variety of learning opportunities. Access to specialised and "in-house" journals, training courses, secondments, study visits at home and abroad are some of the ways in which learning can be facilitated. Bearing in mind the desirability of achieving a productive collaboration between the staff responsible for the implementation of community or custodial sanctions and measures, it is particularly important that each sector should have an opportunity of studying the problems and methods of the other sector.

Principle 40 – Conditions of work and pay

Adequate conditions of work and pay are fundamental factors in recruiting and retaining a staff of high professional quality. At national levels, what constitutes adequate pay and conditions of work is usually the result of a number of interacting influences, among them negotiations between the employer and the staff trades unions, comparisons with what are deemed to be similar professions, governmental policy on staffing levels and budgetary allocations, the availability of suitable applicants, levels of employment and unemployment in particular sectors of the labour market, etc. However, in a market economy one factor is decisive. The level of pay and the conditions of work must be sufficiently favourable to attract the right kind of recruits and retain them as effective staff. Moreover, the salaries paid and the conditions of work should be such as are favourable for the correct carrying out of the staff’s various functions and the development of their awareness of their professional responsibilities.

Principle 41 – Social recognition of the work done

The implementation of sanctions and measures is work that is fundamental to the functioning of a state based on the rule of law. The political sensitivity of the way in which suspected and sentenced offenders are dealt with bears witness to this fact. Moreover, the work is not only of considerable importance to the community in general but is in itself demanding. For these reasons, it might appear axiomatic that the staff concerned with implementing sanctions and measures is accorded high status and marked social recognition. However, this is not always the case and the status accorded to staff, or at least to some sections of that staff, is sometimes extremely low. To some extent the interest of the mass media in presenting dramatic and damaging events rather than steady efforts to achieve difficult successes, reinforces this tendency. Negative social perceptions risk engendering a lack of pride in professional work with concomitant apathy. In consequence, management at all levels, the trades unions, and all those concerned with the dissemination of information, should strive to see that politicians, the representatives of the mass media and the public in general become aware of what implementation work entails in order that the staff may receive stable political support and the social recognition that is their due. A staff that is held in high esteem by the public that it serves is more likely to become motivated to achieve and uphold high standards of professional work than one which is not.

Principle 42 – Dealing with stress situations

Stress arises when there is an imbalance between the individual and the demands made by his or her environment. It is present in many human situations. Often, however, the effects of stress are mitigated in various ways – by group support for example. The problem arises when stress is no longer under control. The mastery of stress may have positive effects on the individual who can thereby experience learning, achievement and personal development. But continued exposure to stress allied to helplessness in the face of stress situations can lead eventually to physiological, physical, psychological and behavioural malfunctioning.

Carrying out implementation work exposes the staff to many situations likely to cause serious stress, for instance, where staff are the objects of physical or psychological aggression and where the sense of failing to achieve their goals with difficult offenders may give rise to depression. Work tasks with low stimulation value – such as watching closed circuit television screens to detect prison escapes – can also lead to stress. Administrative and organisational arrangements that fail to support staff compound the negative effects of stress. Scientific research studies on the prevalence of stress among staff are relatively rare and, hitherto, have been mainly confined to prison staff. Not surprisingly, these studies have found singularly high levels of stress among staff dealing with difficult offenders in the absence of preventive, supportive or other stress-reducing measures. Exposure to stress has grave long-term effects – physical or mental illness or social malfunctioning. What has been demonstrated by such studies parallels what is asserted by practical experience. Stress causes individual distress and organisational inefficiency since a service runs the risk of wasting its human and financial resources through excessive sick leave and premature retirement.

In consequence, there is every reason to take action to counteract the effects of exposure to stress situations. Precautions should be taken to eliminate or reduce the risk of physical assault and promote physical safety. Working hours should be reasonable and allow sufficient opportunity for leisure and mental refreshment. Decision latitude – that is, being able to take personal decisions about work or at least influence decision making – should be encouraged. A psychologically supportive work climate should be created and maintained. The latter includes constructive, honest and open communication between staff members and the opportunity to discuss feelings that arise in connection with work. Such discussion is often carried out as group discussion under the skilled guidance of an expert. Whether such experts are drawn from within a service or are external to it will depend to no small extent on such factors as availability and costs. This question should be decided in the light of national circumstances and experience.

Principle 43 – Debriefing sessions

The principle requires that where a staff member has been exposed to a traumatic incident in the course of duty – personal attack is the most obvious example – immediate assistance should be offered in the form of debriefing sessions. Basically, this means the ventilation of feelings that have arisen in connection with the incident, usually of fear and anxiety, but possibly also of guilt and aggression. Debriefing sessions demand skilful listening rather than the giving of advice. Expert help does not rule out the support that can be given by fellow-workers. Sometimes the effects of traumatic incidents persist over long periods. It should be possible to provide personal counselling for as long as appears necessary. Even other long-term ameliorative measures should also be possible, for example, a change of work.

Principle 44 – Assistance with private problems

A variety of personal and private problems can befall staff and cause reduced capacity for effective work. Examples of these problems are the return to work after lengthy sick leave, retirement on medical grounds, financial difficulties, substance abuse, difficulties over the upbringing of children and the death of a spouse. Welfare services to help staff with these private problems should be provided either directly by the service concerned or by other means, and seen as an investment in maintaining the quality of human resources of the service concerned. Unless there is a serious danger to the efficiency, integrity or credibility of a service, such help should be given confidentially. The nature of the help to be provided should include personal counselling but also practical assistance such as, for instance, a relocation package to help staff who must move to another job with housing, finance (perhaps through favourable loans) and children’s education. All staff should be informed of the kinds of help available and the conditions under which it is given.

In order to maintain the dignity of the person who experiences difficulties in his or her private life which bear upon professional responsibilities, it is imperative that all measures taken have, as their point of departure, the respect to be accorded to every individual as a matter of fundamental human rights.

Principle 45 – Promotion possibilities

Promotion is customarily perceived by staff as one of the most important ways in which work efforts and personal capacities are recognised. Promotion possibilities should therefore be the subject of realistic information to staff so as to avoid the disappointment attendant upon unrealistic expectations. In the making of promotion decisions, and especially in view of budgetary constraints, the emphasis should increasingly be placed on competence, that is the possession of the skills necessary for the carrying out of specified work, and far less on simple seniority. The assessment of competence requires the examination of work experience and its relevance for the post that is sought. Work effort should also be taken into account and, in particular, the professional quality of that work. The capacity to work well with others and to secure collaboration from others should be given careful attention. This quality is necessary at all levels of a service. It should be an obligation for senior management to undertake regular and reasonably frequent appraisals of work performance with the members of staff for whom they are responsible. The aim of such appraisals should be to help staff to develop their professional capacities and skills to the full. This gives opportunity to reinforce good work and good personal qualities but at the same time to examine weaknesses and ways of overcoming them. Performance appraisal is assisted if realistic performance goals can be worked out for staff members and the degree of achievement subsequently followed up. Performance appraisals can be of value both to individual staff members and management as a way of preparing and assessing suitability for promotion.

Principle 46 – Ways of recognising competence other than by promotion

There are many circumstances which limit the possibilities of promotion even of those who deserve it. Hence, many members of staff, even if possessing significant levels of competence, will not gain promotion. It is clearly undesirable that any absence of promotion possibilities should undermine interest for, and the achievement of, a high degree of professional competence. For this reason it is important that other forms of recognition are sought and made available. Salary increments, other than those which are of routine character, are one possibility. Being given responsibility for a special project is another. Yet a further form of recognition is to provide opportunities to specialise or acquire a suitable qualification. The opportunity to participate in special seminars, conferences and committees, especially if they are of international character, is usually perceived as a mark of appreciation. These and other forms of reward should be diligently sought and used in appropriate cases.

Principle 47 – Research on staff functioning

Although there is a great deal of research on offenders, methods of dealing with them and the results of these methods, the functioning of staff is still an under-researched area. In that connection, reference was made in the commentary to principle 42 to the paucity of research on the important question of staff stress. Even relatively unsophisticated research on perceptions of the work undertaken, relations with colleagues and superiors, the relevance of any training which has been undergone, and the main satisfactions and dissatisfactions experienced, can provide a wealth of empirical material that can serve as a basis for staff policies and practice.

Research of this kind can embrace a complete system or be limited to one or a few work units. If such research is combined with subsequent staff discussions on plans for developing strengths and eliminating weaknesses it becomes of considerable immediate pragmatic value. Over time, such research can give important clues about the ways in which recruitment, selection, training, work organisation, incentives and professional support can lead to more effective work and a greater experience of work satisfaction among individual staff members.

V. Mobility

The terms of reference for the PC-PP required an examination of the possibilities of staff mobility. Accordingly the recommendation refers to the need for these possibilities. The purpose of the present section is to list the different forms which staff mobility may take, and to specify the conditions and guarantees applicable to it.

Principle 48 – Secondment for training purposes

The first type of mobility is secondment for training purposes only. It may involve for example, in the context of continued training, giving a probation officer the opportunity to attend a training course for prison officers in a penal institution in order to study how a prison operates from the inside ; another possibility might be for the assistant governor of a prison to learn about comparable functions in the probation service as part of a management training module. It has already been pointed out in Section III on training that continued training may include joint programmes for different categories of staff (Principle 25). Likewise, joint management training courses may be provided for managerial staff from the two sectors of activity.

Such a secondment should be facilitated since the aim is to improve work effectiveness in the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures through learning about and exchanging different working methods. This is just as useful for the person concerned as for the functioning of the service(s). And such a secondment facilitates the necessary collaboration between different categories of staff within a single service concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures, or between different services sharing this responsibility.

Secondment for training purposes, whatever the modalities used, including, in particular, all kinds of training courses in the other sector, should only take place on request and therefore with the agreement of the person concerned. It should not be imposed. Since it is a form of training, it must necessarily be for a limited period. It should not affect the staff member’s original status whether in terms of conditions of pay (except the reimbursement of special expenses) or career development. Since it is a secondment for training purposes only, all staff training regulations, in particular with regard to civil liability, should be applicable to the person concerned. Lastly, there should be no direct and independent assumption of professional responsibility. If, nevertheless, professional duties are carried out, this should be done under the supervision of an established staff member of the service providing the training.

Principle 49 – Temporary secondment for the purpose of carrying out other functions : objectives

Secondment may be statutory, with a member of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures effectively carrying out functions in the other branch of the system on a temporary basis. This may involve the performance of functions requiring similar qualifications in the other sector, for example, a social worker in the probation service carrying out socio-educational functions in a prison. Or it may involve the performance of functions of a different type in the other sector, for example, a prison officer posted to work in the probation service.

The two sectors for the implementation of custodial and community sanctions and measures (the prison service and the probation service respectively) cannot be regarded as being polar opposites. Changes in the tasks incumbent on the different sectors concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures show an inescapable trend towards convergence. In view of this, staff should have the opportunity to move from one sphere of activity to the other, carrying out alternative functions on a temporary basis. This helps such staff to become more aware of the common objectives they pursue, to understand better the similarities and differences of their respective methods of work, and to be stimulated thereby to develop ways of undertaking implementation more effectively.

Here too the interests of the individual and the service coincide. A person who goes to work in another environment is enriched by the experience. The operational advantages for the services are also appreciable since contact between people from different backgrounds and professional categories during the period of secondment will improve co-operation and reduce the likelihood of divisions and occasions for conflict between them. It will thus undeniably improve the day-to-day efficiency and output of all concerned.

This type of temporary secondment should not result in a definitive change of job. Safeguards are necessary to prevent the system being misused, the main precaution being that the length of secondment should depend on the objectives attached to staff mobility of this type, for example, improving co-operation between different categories of staff or meeting the need for staff mobility as part of career development. An example of this latter possibility would be transferring a probation officer into the institutional sector as a stepping stone to a higher grade, and his return subsequently to the probation service.

Principle 50 – Conditions of temporary secondment

Since temporary secondment involves the full exercise of another function, it should be accompanied by guarantees in the interests both of staff and of the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures. If it is thought advisable to improve the functioning of the service(s) implementing sanctions and measures to arrange secondments between the two branches and between different functions, for example, prison officers and probation officers, then procedures for ensuring the viability of this type of secondment should be specified as well as the minimum requirements it should meet.

The first requirement is that the staff member must possess the required qualifications for the new functions. The rules concerning this matter must be clear and should on no account be manipulated. Nor should a move from one branch to the other, even for a limited period, be envisaged in terms of, and for, purely budgetary advantages. A case in point would be a policy to encourage the secondment of unqualified prison officers to the probation service as a low-cost way of coping with difficulties in recruiting probation officers, with the latter requiring a higher level of qualification and doubtless, therefore, a higher level of remuneration.

The second guarantee concerns selection of these persons. It is essential to devise procedures for making a well-informed choice between candidates. Secondment should never be automatic. There must be a system for assessing aptitudes and skills with objective evaluation of the person concerned and a matching of previous work performance with the qualities required to perform future tasks.

Another condition concerns training. Since functions of a quite different character are to be carried out, the selected candidate should be entitled to receive appropriate training. This means that the training period should precede entry into the new function ; otherwise training becomes a meaningless formality. Though the length and content of training will depend on the staff member’s existing qualifications and those required for the new job (for example, a social worker in the probation service whose secondment to a prison is contemplated), at least procedures for assessing the candidate’s training needs should be defined.

Consideration should be given to the possibility of designating an experienced staff member of the host service to act as guide/mentor to the seconded staff member during the secondment period.

Principle 51 – Permanent change of work

The most extreme form of staff mobility entails a permanent change of job either within the service or between the services responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures. This means that the change is no longer a matter of temporary secondment but a real change in the conditions of employment. The rules for seeking employment in a given post should therefore be applied. This means, firstly, that an application should be made by the person concerned, and, secondly, that application procedures should be those nationally provided for, with a presumption that such formal procedures exist and contain, in particular, ways of checking the applicant’s qualifications. The conditions of selection for the new functions (for example, by internal competitive examination) and the training required should provide equivalent guarantees to those required for entry into the service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures from the outside. Inflexibility with regard to training should be avoided however. This means that the possibility of training being given after entry into service should not be ruled out if the new entrant already possesses the necessary minimum qualifications required for the new function.

Commentary on Appendix II

European guidelines for national ethical guidelines for staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures

General considerations

Deontic principles applicable to professional groups concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures have been drawn up in certain member states or by particular professional bodies. In Appendix II a set of European guidelines is presented. An important purpose of the guidelines is to make explicit the main ethical principles that should form the basis for professional work in the implementation of sanctions and measures. Clear ethical principles provide a common basis for such work and reinforce the care and conscientiousness with which it is carried out. In particular, such principles are intended to guide staff and help them to solve problems they are likely to face in their day-to-day working life.

Obviously, any national ethical principles already applicable to staff concerned with the implementations of sanctions and measures should not be in conflict with the principles introduced in the present guidelines. It must, therefore, be a national responsibility to bring such principles into line where necessary and ensure that staff are properly informed about any changes made.

If professional duties are to be carried out in accordance with a set of ethical precepts, staff must be informed about them and how they are to be translated into practice. Thus, virtually every ethical requirement should be taken account of in staff training schemes. Such training should seek to increase knowledge and understanding about the ethical basis of professional work, the inter-relationship between ethics and national and international law, the sources of human rights standards, and the practical implications for the implementation of sanctions and measures. A further purpose of the present guidelines is to provide a basis for this necessary training.

The nature and demands of ethical values1

A distinction can be made between ethics and morals. The latter term commonly refers to the dictates of a person’s conscience and the attitudes and actions that arise from them. Ethics, however, is concerned with the values that should inform personal behaviour outwards, towards other people. Ethical values frequently constitute the ground for legal rules and they may influence the interpretation of legal rules. In this way they may lead to practices and customs that are both ethically better than was formerly the case.

A number of international legal instruments have come into being for the purpose of upholding certain ethical values and influencing the way they come to expression in practice. In particular, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment, and Recommendations No. R (87) 3 embodying the European Prison Rules and No. R (92) 16 embodying the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures, have special significance for the endorsement and preservation of ethical values in the interest of achieving a just, fair and humane implementation of sanctions and measures in Council of Europe member states.

The international instruments referred to above are addressed primarily to governments and the various responsible authorities in Council of Europe member countries. They influence the individual staff member’s practice when their precepts are translated into policies at national level. A set of national ethical guidelines, however, is a national instrument addressed to individual members of staff that demands acceptance of personal ethical responsibility in the discharge of their duties. Of recent years, national administrations and agencies have tended increasingly to describe their ethical values and fundamental principles in policy documents. Such a development can only be welcomed.

Distinction between ethical guidelines and a code of professional conduct

It is fundamental to the present guidelines that a distinction is made between a set of ethical guidelines and a code of professional conduct. The distinction is based on the fact that whilst certain forms of professional conduct ought to rest on an ethical basis, this is not true of all forms of professional conduct. Conversely, whilst certain deficiencies in professional conduct amount to unethical behaviour, this is not true of all deficiencies in professional conduct. This is because professional conduct is largely concerned with whether professional work is well or badly done rather than whether it is ethically good or ethically reprehensible.

Standards exist in all professional communities for defining whether professional work is well done or not. These standards usually relate to questions of effective methods, uncertainties in making assessments and prognoses and the criteria for the evaluation of results. These are areas of concern for efficient work and systematic learning and development. They have little to do with ethical standards. And whilst failure to undertake work in a professionally acceptable way may result in low efficiency or hinder systematic learning and development, it is not necessarily unethical in character.

Distinction between ethical guidelines and a disciplinary code

The principles presented in Appendix II constitute ethical guidelines for professional work and not a model for a code of discipline. The latter is intended to define what conduct constitutes a breach of rules on professional conduct and what can be the consequences of such a breach. Ethical guidelines are limited to enunciating the broad ethical principles on which professional conduct can be founded. They do not deal with the question of breaches of professional conduct and how these should be dealt with. But the guidelines should be taken account of when drawing up a code of discipline.

The application of ethical requirements

The implementation of sanctions and measures in real life situations is frequently a complex matter in which a variety of important but delicate considerations must be balanced against each other. The precise practical application of ethical requirements is not always clear and certain. On occasion the demands made by ethical considerations may be of a conflicting nature and involve the individual staff member in a conflict of loyalty. What should the individual staff member do under such circumstances ? What is the right course for the individual to take ? How should the individual deal, or be assisted to deal, with ethical uncertainties and conflicts of loyalty ? Finding answers to these questions is also an ethical obligation for both the individual and the service concerned.

The integration of ethical values into professional practice requires that these values are clearly stated. But it is equally important that procedures be adopted for the promotion and protection of ethical values. Both features are indispensable if ethical values are to form a foundation for practical work. It is, therefore, essential that all persons working with the implementation of sanctions and measures firmly adhere to basic ethical norms and support procedures designed to secure their widespread application. For this reason the guidelines concern everyone with a formal responsibility for the implementation of sanctions and measures irrespective of whether this responsibility is exercised in a governmental or non-governmental organisation, irrespective of the organisational level at which such persons are working, and irrespective of whether they are public servants or not.

At the same time it is evident that the nature of the responsibilities exercised by individuals in different organisations or sections of organisations to promote awareness and the application of ethical requirements, will differ. Thus, for example, within a given service, one section may be responsible for the formulation of a policy statement describing essential ethical requirements, another section may be responsible for arranging staff training concerning them and another section will be carrying out work with suspected or sentenced offenders guided by the ethical principles which have been the subject of formulation and training.

The ethical guidelines are intended to cover only the most important aspects of staff obligations in the implementation of sanctions and measures and for that reason are not exhaustive. Moreover, ethical requirements are subject to constant development, not least as new situations arise which demand an ethical stance. It is, therefore, also an ethical requirement that all staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures should be sensitive to the need to refine and improve their professional conduct in the light of emerging ethical standards.

Ethical principles for the exercise of professional activity concern relations with :

– the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures and its/their employees ;

– those working in other parts of the criminal justice system ;

– those working in the services and organisations with which the service concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures collaborates, for example, housing and employment agencies ;

– the community in general ;

– the suspected or sentenced offenders subject to the sanctions and measures to be implemented.

This means that they are relevant to every aspect of the organisational environment and deserve therefore to be expounded in national guidelines and followed in national professional practice.

Section I – Ethical requirements in general

Principle 1 – Loyalty in the performance of duties

Staff have a fundamental ethical obligation of loyalty in carrying out the duties assigned to the service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures by the relevant legal instruments applied in the country – whether they are national instruments (ie. laws passed by parliament as well as published governmental decrees or orders for the implementation of law), or relevant international instruments in the field. The duty of loyalty also applies in respect of the policies, practices and instructions concerning the performance of duties in the service(s), in so far as such policies, practices or instructions are not themselves manifestly at variance with national or international instruments applied by the state.

Principle 2 – Responsibility of the service for making clear to staff the ethical basis for their work

The service(s) concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures has/have a fundamental duty to ensure that the ethical principles on which the implementation of sanctions and measures is based are unequivocally defined and notified to staff ; this is a prerequisite for effective work based on defensible ethical premises. In consequence, to ensure that staff do not have ethical doubts about the lawfulness of service policies, practices or instructions, the service concerned should encourage opportunities for prior discussion on these matters and regular consultation, and attempt to reach a consensus, in other words provide guarantees for staff.

Duties assigned to staff should always be performed in an open atmosphere that does not preclude criticism of the policies, practices or instructions of the service concerned. There might in fact arise occasions where staff may be justified in refusing to comply with an instruction – for example an order entailing a degree of violence or torture or, more generally, any situation which is so serious that it could represent a danger to the life, health or safety of a suspected or sentenced offender, or other individuals. Criticism may be expressed at various levels : a simple criticism of a discretionary instruction, uncertainty over the ethics of an action, or a conflict of loyalty or interests between two distinct ethical rules. In the final analysis, staff have an ethical duty to speak out if they feel a situation is unlawful or unethical.

When ethical uncertainties or conflicts of loyalty arise, the service concerned has an ethical duty to institute appropriate procedures to resolve these problems, and to review such procedures regularly in the light of experience. These procedures should address the nature of the criticism (whether it is criticism of a generally applicable instruction or of an instruction relating to a specific case), how the criticism is expressed (in writing or orally), the person or authority able to receive such objections and the form they should take (appeal to a court, to an administrative authority or a body specially authorised to receive complaints, to an ombudsman, etc.), when such objections may be raised and how disagreement expressed by a member of staff should be dealt with.

In any event, where the service concerned is aware that a member of staff is facing a conflict of loyalty or ethical uncertainties, it must seek to establish whether some shortcoming in instructions given, in its organisation or in its internal procedures, has engendered a dilemma of this kind for staff or whether the situation is due to a misunderstanding by staff. In any case, the service concerned must not respond to situations of this kind by taking disciplinary measures before having made such further investigations.

Furthermore, all members of staff finding themselves obliged to weigh conflicting requirements should be able to seek assistance and advice from anyone within the prison/probation service who is uninvolved in the problem. The fact that an issue can be discussed with someone else, and not solely with a superior, can lead to a solution which allows a more open conversation, defuses the situation and makes it easier to determine what line of conduct should be followed.

Principle 3 – Staff conduct

Since their activities address a need essential to the community, namely the enforcement of legal sanctions or measures, the conduct of staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures must leave no room for criticism. Their personal behaviour must be faultless not only during and in the performance of their duties, but also when they are off duty. The purpose of this principle is not to lay down a code of good conduct, but rather to establish ethical criteria, namely that the staff’s conduct must always be in keeping with the policies, principles and instructions of the service concerned ; that it must not have adverse consequences for the service by bringing discredit on it or be such as to impair, or even cause doubts about, the way in which it performs its assigned tasks. The ethical rules observed by staff in their personal conduct contribute to the credibility of their professional expertise, and this in turn promotes public confidence in their work, and hence in the role fulfilled by the prison and probation services.

As a corollary, the principle requires that staff members themselves inform their superiors of any conduct or action which could have adverse consequences for the service concerned irrespective of the nature of the conduct in question : this applies equally to a serious offence and a simple minor breach of regulations.

Principle 4 – Abstaining from using service resources improperly

The principle emphasises a particular aspect of staff conduct, namely the importance of abstaining from actions which give rise to a suspicion that money or other resources provided for the activities of a service are being used improperly. Obvious examples are the use of service vehicles, or other equipment or personnel for unauthorised private purposes. Since complete probity in this matter is essential, guidance should be sought by the individual staff member in any doubtful case. The service concerned has an ethical responsibility in such cases to provide guidance, both to the individual and more generally, through administrative instructions.

Principle 5 – Information on suspected or sentenced offenders

It is an ethical requirement that staff tell the truth to those to whom they are required to transmit information on suspected or sentenced offenders in a professional capacity, do not withhold any information from them, and to pass on such information objectively. The principle on communication of information contains a reference to that information’s substance, which may be basically factual (for example, providing information for a social enquiry report, issuing of a report on implementation of a probation measure or reporting an incident that occurred in the course of detention) or involve a greater degree of discretionary assessment (for example, making any relevant suggestion as to sentencing of a suspected offender).

One of the main ways in which this principle can be seen at work is the obligation of frankness concerning any further unlawful conduct by an offender serving a prison sentence (such as an offence committed during temporary leave from prison) or by an offender on whom a community sanction or measure has been imposed.

Principle 6 – Support for colleagues

A characteristic feature of prison and probation staff is that they belong to a team formed either within the same service or between the prison and probation services. Similarly, different categories of staff may have to work together in the same service, for example prison officers and welfare workers in a prison. The quality of the atmosphere within a service and of the working environment depends on that of the staff’s mutual relations, which should be characterised by respect for others and for their work and by courtesy. An effective means of making the working environment healthy and safe is to encourage staff to keep on good terms with each other. This is particularly relevant in a prison, which is highly sensitive to the slightest internal event, but it may also apply in a probation service where different categories of staff have to work together.

Co-operation and support must not be purely theoretical. It must be possible to put the principle into practice and this can take a variety of forms : help for trainees, steps making it easier for colleagues to communicate with each other and, more generally, assistance for colleagues who are in need of it in the course of their duties. An example is a member of staff experiencing problems because he or she is faced with physical violence or a difficult situation which, although it does not involve the staff member directly, is just as distressing for him or her (an example is the reaction of a probation officer to serious recidivism by an offender in his or her charge, a situation which may be experienced as a professional failure).

Principle 7 – Non-discrimination in staff relationships

This is a transposition of the principle of non-discrimination in the European Prison Rules and the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures into the field of staff relationships. Action against discrimination must extend to harassment and even to the attitude of those who attempt to find excuses for discriminatory behaviour.

Principle 8 – Respect for differences of opinion

This general principle governing how staff should deal with any divergent opinion held by those with whom they are in contact in carrying on their duties is a facet of the need to show respect for other people’s freedom of expression. This applies in particular to opinions expressed by colleagues, whose views should always be treated with understanding. There should never be any attempt to humiliate colleagues, with whom a professional relationship characterised by a spirit of mutual respect and courtesy should be developed. This does not mean that a staff member may not be critical of a colleague. The principle lays down merely the ethical obligation to refrain from criticism – the word being used here in the sense of negative criticism – in front of a suspected or sentenced offender or third party as this could unsettle the staff member being criticised and undermine his or her credibility.

Furthermore, the principle is not intended to refer to staff appraisals, where criticism should be undertaken constructively.

Principle 9 – Honesty and openness towards external bodies and persons

The prison/probation service works together with a number of partners. It has to maintain a working relationship with people and organisations outside the criminal justice system, such as other authorities or public or private bodies specialising in a wide variety of fields, including housing, health, social security, etc., as well as organisations or individuals involved in the implementation of community sanctions and measures. Staff must make honesty a rule in their professional dealings with these people and bodies, that is, they must abide by a duty not to conceal any information needed in their work with these parties. They must therefore be frank with these organisations and the public, both regarding specific circumstances and in general. As an example, they must make every effort to provide the fullest information possible about the context and the content of their work and the conditions under which they perform their duties.

On a more general level, the work done by staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures is part and parcel of the overall social context and contributes to the public’s global perception of staff’s integrity and the quality of their work and to the image staff convey to the public through the credibility of their professional conduct.

Principle 10 – Contact with the media

The question of the relationship between the service(s) for the implementation of sanctions and measures and the media is one of particular importance since media coverage is often the only means available to the public of obtaining information about an event or the functioning of a service for the implementation of sanctions and measures. It is also a domain of some sensitivity since, on the one hand, there is the freedom of expression enjoyed by all staff under national law as citizens of a democratic state, as well as by virtue of relevant international instruments such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But on the other hand, there are certain limitations on freedom of expression occasioned by the necessity on certain occasions not to reveal certain facts for reasons connected with the confidentiality of certain kinds of information (for instance, the identity of individual suspected or sentenced offenders) or policies which restrict the expression of critical views by staff of political decisions or instructions arising as a result of political decision.

The service(s) responsible for the implementation of sanctions and measures have, therefore, a duty to see to it that the staff receive comprehensive information about the nature of the contacts they may have with the media. This information should clarify such matters as the extent to which staff may contact and speak freely to the media, when they have the duty or the right to maintain silence, possible limits on divulging information, the duty or the right to seek the opinion of a hierarchical superior or the central administration about what may or ought to be said, and the right to express criticism as well as the manner of doing so. On this last point, it should be made explicit under what circumstances opinions may be expressed in an official or a personal capacity.

The requirement for the service(s) concerned to provide guidelines on contact with the media has an ethical aspect since staff have a right to be fully informed about how to balance their own ethical responsibilities vis-à-vis the organisation, the suspected or sentenced offenders with whom they deal and their rights and duties as citizens. The information must be based both on national legislation on the freedom of expression as such (and any policy or instructions formulated for its implementation) as well as other legislation that has implications for the freedom of expression such as, for example, a law on the protection of young persons which forbids the citing of a delinquent’s name.

The question of media contact is clearly of great importance for the service concerned since if it can develop good relations with the media it can expect in return a better understanding and appreciation of its activities by the public. The question has also relevance for the status of the staff since a clear public relations policy based upon ethical principles provides staff with guarantees in their contact with the media and allows them, for example, to resist media pressure to obtain information which ought not to become public.

On all occasions when staff make statements to the media, they must loyally act in accordance with the relevant legislation and policies and instructions on the freedom of expression. They should be aware that when they express themselves to the press, the radio or television, their words can strongly influence public knowledge and attitudes and may, independently of their intentions, be interpreted as emanating from the service concerned because enunciated by one of its representatives. It is essential that staff members express themselves frankly and honestly, providing the most complete information possible on particular cases in point or on policy aspects of the service for the implementation of sanctions of measures, without dissimulation on facts. They must also demonstrate objectivity and thereby transmit faithful and undistorted information.

Section II – Ethical requirements in relations to suspected or sentenced offenders

Principle 11 – Respect for the worth of individual human beings

Staff should be informed, aware and active in maintaining and protecting the rights referred to. In the European context the offender’s rights are protected, inter alia, by the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment, Recommendation No. R (87) 3 (the European Prison Rules) and Recommendation No. R (92) 16 (the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures).

Staff should be aware that the adherence of their country to international legal instruments conferring rights on a suspected or sentenced offender necessarily and absolutely engages them in upholding those rights. Staff training should emphasise this fact. In this context staff should also be informed about the nature of the international control exercised by such bodies as the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights, and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Staff concerned with the implementation of sanctions and measures frequently have dealings with the family and relatives of a suspected or sentenced offender. There would be little point in requiring that staff show respect for the person of the suspected or sentenced offender and not require respect to be shown to his/her family or circle of acquaintances.

Principle 12 – Promoting the purposes of the sanction or measures

The implementation of a sanction or measure is the primary task of the staff. For the fulfilment of the primary task, Principles 34 and 35 in Appendix I require that the aims, principles, values and methods of work of implementing authorities be presented in a policy document or documents, arrived at in consultation with the staff concerned. It follows that all staff have an ethical obligation to promote the purposes of the sanction or measure in accordance with the precepts of the policy laid down.

Principle 13 – Abstention from, and prevention of, physical or mental ill treatment

Staff have an ethical responsibility to abstain from, and to try to prevent, behaviour that constitutes any form of physical or mental ill-treatment, in particular any form of violence. Any form of inhuman, degrading, violent or threatening behaviour, whether physical or mental in nature and whether spontaneous, sporadic or sustained, constitutes ill-treatment no matter from whence it arises. The ethical obligation is not only to abstain from such abuses but extends also to protecting suspected or sentenced offenders from them if it lies within the individual’s power to do so. Rights in this connection are guaranteed by the international instruments listed in the commentary to Principle 11 of Appendix II. It is, therefore, a primary duty of staff both to abstain from any behaviour that jeopardises the basic rights referred to and to do all in their power to afford suspected or sentenced offenders protection from any threats to these rights. In particular, staff should work actively to prevent circumstances arising that are likely to lead to the physical or mental ill-treatment of suspected or sentenced offenders in their charge. It is particularly important in prisons to prevent the physical or mental ill-treatment of prisoners by other prisoners. Staff training should include the inculcation of responsibility for the present ethical obligations.

However, the international instruments referred to do not prohibit the legal, authorised and exceptional use of minimum necessary force in the performance of staff duties. Staff should be trained in ways of preventing the emergence of potentially violent situations and in the techniques of using minimum necessary force.

Principle 14 – Non-discrimination in the implementation of sanctions or measures

Discrimination on such grounds as, inter alia, race, colour, gender, language, religion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status is prohibited by a range of international legal instruments. In particular, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Prison Rules and the European Rules on Community Sanctions and Measures specifically prohibit practice based on any form of bias, bigotry, prejudice and fanaticism. Staff have, therefore, an ethical responsibility not only to refrain from discrimination but also to do what is in their power to prevent discrimination by other persons or bodies. Non-discrimination does not, however, preclude making distinctions between suspected or sentenced offenders on the basis of control requirements or personal needs.

Principle 15 – Abstention from provocative behaviour

Provocative behaviour is perhaps most likely to appear in face-to-face situations although this need not necessarily be the case. Any unjust or insensitive practices can be experienced as provocative. Avoidance of provocative behaviour reduces the likelihood of initiating aggressive or abusive behaviour or of inflaming it where it is being manifested. Such behaviour on the part of suspected or sentenced offenders needs to be dealt with firmly but non-provocatively with a view to preventing escalation. In all their dealings with suspected or sentenced offenders, staff should strive to act as role models by presenting a positive example.

Principle 16 – Informing suspected or sentenced offenders about their obligations and rights

The staff are empowered not only to require suspected or sentenced offenders to follow certain rules or satisfy certain conditions but also to invoke the use of various penalties should they disobey orders, break rules or fail to observe conditions. Thus, the staff are possessed of considerable power over their charges. The use of this power must be guided by ethical considerations. The first of these considerations places a responsibility upon the staff to see to it that the suspected or sentenced offender is informed about what is required of him or her and the likely consequences of disobedience. It is clearly unethical to impose penalties on suspected or sentenced offenders for misconduct if what constitutes misconduct and its consequences has not been explained. Secondly, since various avenues for making complaints or requesting reviews of decisions taken are, or should be, provided in all services for the implementation of sanctions and measures, staff have an ethical responsibility to inform suspected or sentenced offenders of their rights in such matters. It would be clearly unethical to keep them in ignorance of their opportunities to make complaints or request reviews of decisions. In short, staff have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the power which they possess in their dealings with suspected or sentenced offenders is used fairly and subject to such examination or scrutiny as may be provided for in law or regulations.

Principle 17 – Confidentiality

An important part of the respect due to the human individuality of suspected or sentenced offenders extends to the various kinds of information about them and their families that may come to the staff’s attention. Where this information is of written character, any documentation that is required of staff should be accurate, correct and clear and its confidentiality should be respected. The nature of the information about suspected or sentenced offenders that is to be documented, the extent to which it is to be regarded as confidential and what persons or organisations are entitled to receive such information, should be the subject of precise regulations. It is especially necessary to define the nature of the information that may be given to the mass media about identified or identifiable suspected or sentenced offenders without their consent and the circumstances under which this may be permitted.

Principle 18 – Prohibition of corrupt dealings

It must be considered axiomatic that no staff member should have corrupt dealings with a suspected or sentenced offender. Involvement in corrupt dealings negates the most important purpose of the sanction – the manifestation of society’s denunciation and condemnation of crime. Furthermore, such involvement constitutes a betrayal of other staff members who seek to uphold honesty and integrity in their dealings with suspected or sentenced offenders and runs the risk of undermining the ethical basis of work in connection with implementation. This is also true if a staff member knows, or has good reason to suspect, that other staff members are engaged in corrupt acts but takes no steps to have such practices stopped. Under such circumstances it is an ethical obligation to report any known corruption or request an investigation into suspected corruption. What constitutes corruption should be regulated in law or administrative instructions together with the attendant penalties. These provisions should be brought to staff attention and emphasised, inter alia through staff training.

Principle 19 – Correct professional relationships with suspected or sentenced offenders and their families

Questions of corruption apart, a relationship which exploits, or appears to exploit, the suspected or sentenced offender in any way is clearly incorrect. But the implementation of sanctions and measures, implying as it does the dual tasks of control and help, can often lead to uncertainty about the correctness of relations with those undergoing the sanction or measure.

The maintenance of a good relationship should not lead to diminished objectivity and an inability to set limits to negative behaviour. Conversely, the exercise of the control function should not lead to an incapacity to build a constructive relationship. A particular difficulty arises over the acceptance of friendly gestures on the part of a suspected or sentenced offender or his or her family. A careful balance must be struck between the acceptance of some simple gesture, which may well be nothing more than a normal expression of a good relationship, and an improper relationship that jeopardises the work to be done.

Since the maintenance of the proper balance in relationships lies at the heart of successful work with sentenced or suspected offenders, it is of the greatest importance that the complex issues involved be dealt with in training courses. In addition, provision should always be made for staff members to be able to consult their supervisors whenever they experience doubts or uncertainties about the nature of their relations with suspected or sentenced offenders. Similarly, supervisors have a duty to act when they perceive that an individual staff member’s professional relationships are, or are beginning to be, incorrect. The nature of the action taken will depend on the nature of the indiscretion but will always be within the framework provided by the policies of the service involved and call for understanding and skill. An especially sensitive issue arises when a professional relationship goes over to being one of personal affection. Such a situation calls for the staff member involved to report the matter to his or her superior and for the latter to deal with it with sound judgement. Sound judgement requires impartiality and due regard for the provisions of any relevant legislation, including in particular any legislation pertaining to human rights.

The question of creating and maintaining correct professional relationships with suspected or sentenced offenders should not, however, be seen solely as a responsibility of the individual staff member in consultation, where necessary, with a supervisor or manager. The central importance of good professional relationships also calls for action on the part of the ser,vice concerned. Guidelines can be drawn up on the handling of these relationships with special attention given to situations which jeopardise professional staff behaviour. And, as mentioned above, staff understanding of the content of professional relationships should be developed in training sessions.

Note 1 Much of the material in this section is based on a report prepared by the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists entitled in translation, "Professional Ethical Values in Public Administration", Copenhagen, September 1993.