20th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services - Radicalisation and other strategic challenges

Website of the Conference: English - - Français

Bucharest, 9-10 June 2015

Thank you Jesper and thank you Mauro for a very detailed and comprehensive survey and set of conclusions, which I will obviously not repeat here.

Please allow me to highlight a few issues and to indicate some possible follow-up to the conclusions that Mauro has just presented.

Firstly radicalisation; the main theme of this Conference. As was clearly pointed out during various sessions, it is a problem of society and radicalisation in prison is only a small part of that problem. It is also clear that we need a lot more research: we need to move from untested assumptions to hard facts.

As regards the Guidelines, I am convinced that we have taken a huge step forward, thanks to your very intensive comments and discussions of these Guidelines in the various small groups. The groups that met yesterday and, from what I have understood from the feedback I have received, most of you consider these small groups to have been a useful working method which have helped to move ahead the specific proposals on how to make these Guidelines useful, practical and a real tool for you, the directors of prison administrations and probation services in countering radicalisation.

A few words on ICT. As you can see from the title on my name-plate, I am also dealing with Information Society issues at the Council of Europe and therefore, it will not surprise you that I want to highlight this particular issue for a moment. First of all, I think most of you have already heard this, but yesterday there were some 24 000 people attending this conference via web-cast and I would like to say ‘hello’ to all those people that are following now.

I think this is a great success and it clearly shows how important is ICT these days, as was also shown during a presentation this morning of a very interesting Belgian prison cloud example.

Personally, I am convinced that the chances of reintegration of a prisoner that has been kept away from ICT-RSA are as high as that of the Japanese soldier that emerges from the jungle after 30 years. There are a lot of risks, there are a lot of challenges, but I think it is clear that the reintegration in today’s society without at least a basic knowledge of ICT tools is virtually impossible. And I am therefore convinced that this issue – I have heard talks over coffee - could be a useful field for follow-up and possibly for the next conference of prison directors and probation services.

Indeed, as could be the issue of children of imprisoned parents. Like many of you, I was very moved by the presentations we saw, as a parent myself and, I think many of you are parents too, very moved! The fact that there are 800 000 children in Europe who have an imprisoned parent and the interests of these children are largely ignored. And there, I think, should be a lot of food for all, of us and I think also an avenue to explore in future.

As to the future, as the Chair, Jesper, has just mentioned, the Netherlands have asked me to announce that they would be willing to host the next conference in 2016 and I would like to thank my compatriots for this very kind offer.

I would like to thank all of you, all the participants, some of you have travelled from afar to join us, thank you very much for this effort and for being with us. Thanks in particular, to all of you who have made presentations for this Conference. I would like to thank again – as I did already yesterday – the interpreters for their very hard work and kind support, without which we couldn’t have held this conference. So thank you, thank you very much. And I would like to thank our two hosts, Catalin and Iuliana.

Last but not least, let me thank our Romanian hosts for their warm hospitality. The enthusiasm and commitment of the organisers of this important event has contributed greatly to the success of the Conference.

Thank you.

 Director General 
Christos Giakoumopoulos

Mandate   Organigramme

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