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The Seminar on Promoting Community-based Treatment in the ASEAN Region

From 29 September to 1 October 2015, UNAFEI co-hosted the Seminar on Promoting Community-based Treatment in the ASEAN Region with the Department of Probation, Ministry of Justice (Thailand), the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the Rehabilitation Bureau of the Ministry of Justice (Japan).

The seminar aimed at

  • a. Sharing best practices and successful experiences for achieving community involvement in community-based treatment (probation and other non-custodial measures) in each ASEAN country
  • b. Updating the participants on the progress since the February 2015 seminar held inThailand and
  • c. Sharing strategies for community engagement in the field of community-based treatment of offenders

Ms. Sonya Spencer (Canada)

At the Seminar, keynote speeches were delivered by (1) Ms. Sonya Spencer, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Toronto, on “Canadian Community Corrections: A Perspective from the Front Line” and (2) Mr. Yamada Kenji, Volunteer Probation Officer and Secretary General of the National Organization for Employment of Offenders, on “The Spirit of Offenders Rehabilitation (Community-based Treatment in Japan)”

The seminar was attended by senior officials with responsibility for establishing and/or implementing community-based treatment in the criminal justice system from nine ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam) and Japan. Also, with the support of the Japan Rehabilitation Aid Association (JRAA), volunteer probation officers from Singapore, Thailand and Japan and a volunteer probation assistant from the Philippines attended the seminar and introduced their daily activities as volunteers.

All participants actively discussed best practices of community-based treatment and community involvement therein. Although all participating countries face some challenges such as lack of organization, lack of personnel/budget, prison overcrowding, overwhelming caseloads, and lack of public understanding, they are actively and continuously developing systems and practices of community-based treatment. Also, volunteers play an especially important role in offender reintegration and public safety, and they are developing innovative ways to mobilize and deliver services. Through discussion, we achieved consensus on the necessity of continuing the seminar and training on promoting community-based treatment in the ASEAN region.

At the end of the seminar, the participants reviewed the report, which summarized the proceedings and general discussion held throughout the Seminar.

Click here for the report.


Group Photo

Opening Ceremony

All participants enjoyed Asakusa during the study tour of the seminar organized by “Volunteer Probation Officers Association in support of UNAFEI Activities” (Japanese Volunteer Probation Officers’ Group).