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PO21 final conference in Lisbon: a strategic approach to sectorial skills development of prison officers

The 3-year project PO 21_ European Prison Officers for the 21st Century has drawn to a close on January 26th with the Lisbon final conference gathering 95 participants (heads of services, prison officers, prison governors, heads of training academies, and researchers) from 13 countries, to present and discuss the project’s products and results:

  • the Policy Recommendations on recruiting and training of correctional officers
  • the comprehensive Training Curricula (initial and ongoing training) that responds to the current skills needs and some identified future challenges
  • the online knowledge repository
  • the critical incidents case methodology and cases developed to be used during training.

The conference offered the chance to discuss training harmonization, recognition, and certification throughout Europe directly with representatives from:

15 Correctional Services
15 Penitentiary Training Academies
2 Trade Unions and representatives of European Federation of Unions
2 International multilateral organisations
2 Sectorial organisations representing more than 55 prison and probation administration
3 Universities

Prison officers have to respond to complex phenomena: overcrowding, extremism and in-prison radicalisation, inmates’ mental illness and increasingly dangerous behaviours are some of the challenges that PO face.

European prison systems show relevant gaps in policies and practices regarding the training of prison officers (POs) across Member States.

Against this framework, the PO21 project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, developed a strategic approach to prison officers’ training and contributed to promoting qualification standards in the sector.

The PO21 project is coordinated by the BSAFE Lab | Law enforcement, justice and public safety research and technology transfer laboratory of UBI University (PT) in partnership with IPS_Innovative Prison Systems (PT), the Bremen Senate of Justice and Constitution (GE), the Directorate-General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP, PT), the FOD Justitie SPF Justice (BE), the National Trade Union of Prison Workers (SNLP, RO), the National Trade Union of the Prison Guard Corps (SNCGP, PT), European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (EUROPRIS) (NL), and the Stichting Foundation ICPA (International Corrections and Prisons Association) Office in Europe (NL).

The conference program

For more information about the project visit

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