Across Europe, there are a variety of challenges linked to the training and education of prison officers. They often lack proper initial and continuous training, and in the EU there are big differences in training policies and practices, which can inhibit the development and mobility of professionals between the Member States and hinder the implementation of Framework decisions on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters. Moreover, recruitment and selection processes are different in every Member State; initial training, learning outcomes, qualifications and length of training can be very different between jurisdictions as well.
Thus, PO21 project seeks to identify existing and emerging skill needs within prison officers; strength the exchange of knowledge and practices and adapting vocational education and training to prison officers skills needs, while promoting qualification standards in the sector, with particular emphasis on digital skills.
More specifically, PO21 aims to respond to the abovementioned gaps by developing a strategic approach to sectoral skills development. The main objectives of the project are, therefore, to identify existing and emerging skills needs; strengthen the exchange of knowledge and practices; promote relevant qualifications and supporting their recognition; adapt Vocational Education and Training to skills needs; promote qualification standards for work-based learning; and plan the progressive roll-out of the project at a sectoral level.
The project partners that joined to develop the PO21 proposal include prison administrations, trade unions, Vocational Education and Training and research organisations, and private sector representatives whose main concern is the advancement of the correctional sector, namely:
PO21 – “European Prison Officers for the 21st Century” is funded by Eramus+ KA2 – Cooperation and Innovation for Good Practices, more specifically the Action Type: Sector Skills Alliance for design and delivery of VET. The project is to be launched in November 2019 and will run until October 2022.