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Volunteering in Romanian probation

Every cloud has a silver lining, and while the Romanian probation system has faced its challenges with volunteer numbers, brighter days are on the horizon, with the new Strategy for the development of the Romanian Probation System for 2021-2025.

For SPACE II reports, the Romanian probation system has provided data sporadically over the years. Interestingly, the earliest record of volunteer participation was in 2010, where a count of 118 volunteers was documented as actively participating in probation activities. Following this initial report, there was a modest increase in the number of volunteers through 2014. However, by 2015, a sharp decline was observed, and the numbers dropped significantly. By the time we reach 2019, the SPACE II records show a meager total of 9 volunteers engaged in the Romanian probation system.

The sporadic reporting on the number of volunteers, together with the relatively low numbers involved shows that the Romanian probation system does not (yet) have a commitment towards involving community actors in its activities and hints towards the challenges the system may have in sustaining volunteer involvement. In our CoPPer peer-review process aimed at mapping the European practice for volunteering in probation, it is clear that community stakeholders are eager to get involved in as volunteers in community supervision. However, they expect a well-defined strategy for their involvement.

On a more positive note, things are set to change with the Strategy for the development of the Romanian Probation System for 2021-2025, which underscores the importance of involving volunteers in probation work. As such, the Strategy sets as its third objective the development of human resources in terms of quality, efficiency, and professionalism. One of the measures of the action plan for this goal is to involve volunteers and NGO representatives in the activity of probation services.

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