International Cooperation

International Cooperation 2014

27.1.2015 11:04

20. 1. 2015

International Relations Unit and its Tasks and Activities
The main activities of the International Relations Unit, which is a part of the External Relations Department of the Office of the Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic are providing a service to the Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic and to the management at the Prison Service Headquarters in the field of international relations, organizing international events and meetings in the Czech Republic, translating and interpreting, keeping contacts with penitentiary partners abroad, cooperating on elaboration of various statistics and questionnaires and on their evaluation and completion, and evaluating of plans of international activities and archiving of all documents and materials related to the Prison Service international activities and relations.

Activities in 2014
The most important international events in 2014

The priority of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic in the international relations field in 2014 was to keep the positive development of the international contacts and to increase the prestige of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic abroad. The Prison Service of the Czech Republic has broaden and intensified its international contacts and relations since 2008 when the Prison Service of the Czech Republic co-organized and hosted the 10th anniversary ICPA Conference. Since 2008 the Czech Prison Service has established and strengthened relations with many foreign partners and its representatives met on various events within the penitentiary field.
In May 2014 the Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic Pavel Ondrášek joined the meeting of the directors general of the penitentiary administrations of the Visegrad countries in Hungary. Its main aims were to discuss current tasks, challenges and priorities of their systems, membership in European organizations and prisoners´ employment. The Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic also participated at the Council of Europe Conference of directors of prison and probation services that was held in June in Helsinki, Finland. He discussed possibilities of funding of memberships in international correctional organizations.

In September 2014 the Prison Service of the Czech Republic hosted the MECR meeting (Middle European Correctional Roundtable) in Kroměříž. MECR is a meeting of the highest representatives of the prison administrations that is held annually in one of the member countries. This time prison systems of these countries were represented: Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. There was also a representative of ICPA (International Corrections and Prisons Association) present. The program included discussions over current topics and also treatment of prisoners with mental disorders. The participants also visited Prison Mírov.
The Prison Service of the Czech Republic also prepared two study visits for their foreign partners based on projects. Representatives of the Latvian Prison Service visited the Czech Republic in June and exchanged information and experience with the Czech experts in the field of prison suicide prevention. The project partners met also in Riga in November. In October there was a delegation from Moldavia that aimed to exchange information concerning aspects of imprisonment of young offenders.
Based on the Agreements on Cooperation between the Czech and Polish, Slovak and Hungarian prison systems, exchange study visits took place in the Czech Republic as well as in the partner countries. The participants were experts on a chosen specific topic.
Memorandums of Understanding signed with prison administrations in Romania and Lower Saxony were supported by the participation of Czech delegation at the meeting focused on staff training in Lower Saxony in July and the study visit of representatives of Czech Medical care department in Romania in September.

International cooperation of the Czech penitentiary institutions
The Czech penitentiary institutions have international partners on the basis of valid documents on cooperation. 19 institutions have partners in Slovakia, 17 have partners in Poland, 2 have partners in Hungary, 2 partners in Austria, 2 partners in Romania, 1 partner in Bavaria and 1 partner in Lithuania. In 2014 there were 126 international activities (departures and arrivals) compared to 123 activities organized in 2013. In 2014, 32 Czech penitentiary institutions sent their staff members on 63 study trips, excursions or visits abroad, and 27 Czech penitentiary institutions welcomed the total number of 63 foreign delegations.
The most frequently visited partner penitentiary systems were the Slovak and Polish ones. The highest number of foreign delegations came also from Slovakia (16) and Poland (12). There were also delegations, for instance, from Hungary (5), Austria (4) or from the USA (4).

International Questionnaires
The number of international questionnaires, enquiries and researches has significantly increased over past 10 years. This requires effective cooperation with the Departments of the Czech Prison Service Headquarters and with international units of the Probation and Mediation Service of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Justice and other institutions. In 2014 the Prison Service of the Czech Republic cooperated on 42 international questionnaires and surveys, out of them 5 were developed for the needs of the Czech Prison Service.