The task of the CoP is the development and extension of a European learning network focused on the exchange, transfer and standardisation of expertise (knowledge, experiences, concepts, forms of organisations etc) amongst the participating Member States. The aim is the development of a joint strategy to improve the conditions necessary for the successful reintegration of ex-offenders at regional, national and European level.
The context and focus of the CoP is the reintegration of (ex)prisoners and ex-offenders. In view of the already high and in some countries still rising numbers of prisoners, and the correspondingly high reoffending rate, action across Europe is essential. Ex-offenders and prisoners are defined by a high degree of social exclusion. Their opportunity for reintegration is already severely limited by poor education, lack of qualifications and employment history, their criminal record, as well as a range of other problem areas common to people who have had contact with the criminal justice system.
In the context of both Equal funding periods (ESF 2002 – 2007), at operational and programme level in the field of ETE (employment, training and education) in the penal system structures and strategies focusing on the politics of reintegration were developed. Out of these ESF (NSS) structures (National Support System) of the last support period grew the policy forum on the penal system, which representatives of both the justice and labour sector attended. Equal developed the NEON networks or the Thematic Networks, which led to transnational networking. In order to carry for¬ward and expand the debate on the relevant political and support strategies necess¬ary for the reintegration of offenders it is proposed to create the CoP ex-offenders.
In order to ensure a successful outcome for the project, close collaboration with decision makers in the fields of justice, labour, education, as well as with Third Sector representatives will be essential. It is also the aim of this European network to ensure that the structural fund is used in a way which makes best use of the available resources in order to reintegrate prisoners and ex-offenders, and to facilitate the social resettlement of this particularly disadvantaged group.
Through a range of learning strategies, and ways of teaching and exchange will this knowledge be evaluated and disseminated. Partners are expected to contribute and collaborate to the transfer of learning:
• Exchange and transfer through workshops and seminars; supporting learning through face to face contacts
• Transfer and dissemination of experiences, results and materials through the web based knowledge management system (IT-Platform: e-portal)
• Development of standards for evaluation as well as a criteria for a comparative study of ETE in prisons in Europe
For a short descrition of our network, please take a look at the ExOCoP Flyer.
ExOCOP Flyer (pdf, 666.1 KB)