More Liverpool reflections

This reflection on the recent conference comes from Martine Herzog-Evans, co-leader of our working group on Decision-making and Offender Supervision….
Like Christine, I greatly enjoyed the conference. When I attend conferences, there’s usually a point where I get a little bored and start playing with my pen or doing something entirely different. None of that this time.
Every meeting with the colleagues who have become friends throughout the years is joyful and the mix of academics and practitioners, along with former supervisees – I prefer the French justiciables – is always intensively stimulating.
For the French Geordie that I am, any chance to go up North – even if my Mum would say Liverpool is still down South – is an added bonus.
Since I also tend to note that glasses are half empty I could not help notice the gloomy atmosphere which was also in the background, not only of the conference, but also on the news (at the time of the conference I’d already been in England for 15 days): no more state probation + much less benefits… In France, I tend to praise England and Wales’ probation – well the good sides that is; no need to advertise what’s wrong – but that’s going to be really difficult now. I really felt for the practitioners who were there in the room!
Back in France I read the political programme of the right – which is currently in the opposition but will very likely be elected next time around – and guess what? They are planning to eliminate the JAP (juge de l’application des peines), i.e; our 68 year old sort of problem-solving/reentry court, which has much to teach other countries. That’s one of the rare things we did right and are planning to get rid of it?! Really, what is wrong with these people?
So clearly, there’s a lot of ‘doom and gloom’ (Christine, that’s a Rolling Stone’s song) both sides of the English Channel.
I do hope our network can point to the more promising, efficient and human rights respectful practices that are out there in Europe to try and fight off the massive destruction operations which are being announced.

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