European Centre for Penological Studies

Institute of Social Prevention and Rehabilitation

University of Warsaw


European Centre for Penological Studies under the auspices of

Profesor dr hab. Genowefa Rejman

Institute of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law and Administration

University of Warsaw



The criminal policy of advanced European countries is undergoing dynamic changes. However, the character and direction of reforms to these criminal justice systems is unclear and the issue is highly controversial. Penological ideas supporting humanitarian reforms of criminal justice system are well developed. Nevertheless, it can not be said, that in western societies there is currently a general tendency towards a more civilized and conciliatory approach to the issue of punishment, or to the question of setting limits to criminal penalties. On the contrary, there are tendencies in contemporary legislation which run counter to the development of more conciliatory, civilized ways of resolving human conflicts. This situation is caused by a combination of recent, non-humanitarian trends in penological thinking, together with some of the side effects of globalization. As a result, penology has become a site of confrontation between different visions of societies’ future development. This is why the penological debate is so vital, particularly in those countries where the processes both of globalization and also of theoretical and ideological confrontation are the most advanced.



Sources of Inspiration


European Centre for Penological Studies is a research and teaching institution created in the framework of University of Warsaw. It has been created on the basis of experiences with interdisciplinary research and teaching programmes related to issues of penology which have been gathered at Institute of Social Prevention and Rehabilitation since 1989 . Within the framework of those programmes, many contacts with research institutions and practitioners have been established, both in Poland and in other European countries. Academics from a range of disciplines have expressed extremely positive opinions concerning the idea of creating an interdisciplinary institution for researching and teaching issues related to questions of punishment and repression, and have strongly supported the efforts to establish this European Centre for Penological Studies. The support of professors of criminal law, who have emphasized the theoretical weakness of contemporary Polish and foreign penology has been of special importance.