General principles and rules of proceedings of European Centre for Penological Studies
agreed at the meeting of Consultants of European Centre for Penological Studies
of the Institute of Social Prevention and Resocialization, University of Warsaw.
The meeting was held at University of Warsaw on 13 of January of 2008.
The rules are to serve as a guidance for the further development of that academic initiative as well in matters of substance as in matters concerning its organisation.
The Centre is going to organize meetings of experts of different nationalities and for this reason the basic documents of the Centre will be prepared in English. However, working papers of the meetings or published materials may be prepared in different languages (for e.g. Polish , German or French) only with necessary basic information in English about their Content. The use of English or other languages during the meetings would depend on the usefulness and practical value of the choice for their participants.
The Centre is European in three meanings of that expression. Firstly the European Centre means that the participants of it refer mainly to certain shared values which can influence their common attitude towards punishment and which prevail in culture but also in official documents accepted by all or nearly all European countries. It is related to the fact tha a common legal and cultural space is emerging in Europe, mostly in the framework of the European Union. Secondly, The Centre would like to create opportunities for academics from all over Europe to meet and discuss penological issues. Thirdly, European means for the Centre to be open to all other people interested in studies of punishment who accept the main European axiological standards . For this reason the Centre is concerned with the cooperation with academics who can contribute to researches on topics important for the development of penological studies nothwistanding their nationality or continent on which they live.
The Centre has an interdisciplinary character. It means that the Centre is going to promote in the long run a common approach to penological issues which could, at least to some extent, overcome delimitation of competences among different disciplines represented in the Centre. One of the ways to achieve that goal is the promotion of culturally integrated studies of penological issues. In actual work a harmonious and full of mutual respect coexistence and cooperation of different approaches and disciplines is necessary for our success. It is important to say however,that possible social consequences of the work of the Centre may be especially immediately relevant in the framework of criminal law. This is why it is important to emphasize a special and unique relation of penological studies with the doctrine of criminal law, it is not matter of any academic superiority of criminal law studies over other disciplines but simply the matter of fact.
The Centre may provide in the future expertises in different fields, in which the criminal law must refer to researches of different disciplines, for instance in such questions like a definition of death or ecological issues. It could lead the Centre towards a real influence on legislation. The Centre may raise new questions important for social life and criminal law. The Centre may provide deep interdisciplinary reports on crucial issues and in this way it could influence the adoption of European standards of criminal policy in that respect.
The possible future subjects of inquiry of the European Centre for Penological Studies. There is a suggestion that the next subject of the Seminar and researches of The Centre would be searched for around interdisciplinary issues of inter-cultural problems of punishment and punitive populism and should include strongly questions of education of young generation.
Other topics considered as important subjects for the seminars of our Centre in the near future are:
a) the problem of punishment from the philosophical point of view which can be of great importance for the doctrine of criminal law and may contribute strongly to European and national discussions about principles of sentencing;
b) interrelation between punishment, education and school system. The question is concerned not only with problems of criminal punishment and criminal policy, but also the problem of the use of different penalties in the process of education;
c) question of punishment versus terrorism. The problem is important in Europe in all its complexity including its legal, political, ideological but also cultural and religious dimensions;
d) the problem of understanding punishment in different cultures. It can be related to the legal question of the maxim “ignorantia iuris nocet” and related to dogmatic and practical problems in sentencing. The question may concern Muslims in Europe, but also other minorities and denominations, especially for instance Roma. It is related to coexistence in intercultural relations of the different legal traditions and different sets of normative systems which influence also the work of public institutions and criminal policy, including also the question of carrying out sentences. The subject may concern also a lot of questions related to punitive populism and merged with certain issues of education and youth problems raised in point b;
e) the question of dealing with the problems of legal protection of the environment in criminal law. It is a very complex issue which needs interdisciplinary approach, including analyses of culture, organization of social life and legal traditions of societies.
Questions of proceedings of the Centre. The Centre is a democratic forum of scholars from different disciplines who voluntarily agreed to cooperate in order to discuss penological issues and to include them respectively in the fields of their research interests and to exchange ideas and knowledge important for penological studies on the basis of freedom of research and freedom of thought and acceptance of the basic principles of protection of human dignity according to European standards. The Centre needs however a strong leadership to coordinate the work, and it was agreed that this role would be performed by Jarosław Utrat-Milecki. He is responsible for the coordination of research policy and coordination of further programmes of the Centre and planning new seminars and conferences and in that respect he has a direct support of Professor Michael Mangan and dr Jadwiga Królikowska.
J. Utrat-Milecki is also responsible for the coordination of the development of human resources of the Centre, it means for the invitation of new members from different disciplines in order to strengthen the Centre as for the coordination of invitation of academics for specified seminars and research projects of the Centre. He is also to guarantee that this development won’t be made under any pressure, and in ethically dubious situations he will consult prof. Michael Mangan, prof. Richard Pring, dr Jadwiga Królikowska and the Honorary Patron Professor Genowefa Rejman.
J. Utrat-Milecki is also responsible for maintaining academic and independent character of the Centre, the duty which includes also the question of protection of financial independence from governments and lobbies. In case of doubts he may consult all members of the Centre, and would especially seek advice of prof. Richard Pring. Dr Jadwiga Królikowska is responsible for the organisation of the present work of the Centre, its documentation and in case of any problems she will consult J. Utrat-Milecki and prof. Michael Mangan and respectively, if needed, she may consult other members of the Centre. Dr Jadwiga Królikowska is especially responsible for the question of grants for research programmes of the Centre, but other members of the Centre are also welcome to share this responsibility and take an action.
The leadership of J. Utrat-Milecki and general rules of the Centre are based entirely upon their acceptance by members of the Centre.
Here is the list of the members of the Centre who participated in the first meeting of the Consultants of the European Centre for Penological Studies on 13.01 2008: prof. Janusz Danecki, prof. Halina Grzymała Moszczyńska, dr Jadwiga Królikowska, prof. Ewa Nowicka, prof. Michael Mangan, prof. Richard Pring, prof. Genowefa Rejman (Honorary Patron of the Centre), dr hab. Jarosław Utrat-Milecki (at the meeting there were also two translators and dr Tomasz Przesławski).
The final report was prepared by Jarosław Utrat-Milecki on 29 of April 2008 on the basis of draft report from the meeting on 13 of January 2008 taking into account some formal remarks sent by consultants who read this draft.
I also kindly inform you that we would like to start in 2008 the website of the European Centre for Penological Studies with basic documents and information about our activities.