A number of members of the Working Group are until spring 2016 involved in the COST Action (IS1106) Offender Supervision in Europe. Offender supervision in Europe has developed rapidly in scale, distribution and intensity in recent years. However, the emergence of ‘mass supervision’ (i.e. in the community) has largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and social scientists more concerned with the ‘mass incarceration’ reflected in prison growth. As well as representing an important analytical lacuna for penology in general and comparative criminal justice in particular, the neglect of supervision means that research has not delivered the knowledge that is urgently required to engage with political, policy and practice communities grappling with delivering justice efficiently and effectively in fiscally straitened times, and with the challenges of communicating the meaning, legitimacy and utility of supervision to an insecure public. This Action aims to remedy these problems by facilitating cooperation between institutions and individuals in different European states (and with different disciplinary perspectives) who are already carrying out research on offender supervision or, in the case of early stage researchers, are attracted to that field. It will review and synthesise existing knowledge and then enrich it through interdisciplinary and comparative work and capacity building. The Action will thus provide a European forum on offender supervision for academics, policy makers, practitioners and interested citizens.
The COST Action comprises of four working groups and all are chaired by members of the Community Sanctions Group:
1. Practising Supervision (Chairs: Kerstin Svensson and Gwen Robinson)
2. Experiencing Supervision (Chairs: Ioan Durnescu and Christian Grafl)
3. European Policy and Practice (Chairs: Christine Morgenstern and Elena Larrauri)
4. Decision-making and Supervision (Chairs: Miranda Boone and Martine Herzog-Evans)
Further details of the COST Action and the Working Groups including presentations from the first conference which took place in Liverpool in April 2013 are available here.