What we do
There is almost no other room of which the public has a more specific mental image than the prison cell. And there is almost no other public institution of which people have clearer expectations than the administration of penal sanctions. Its job is to find a balance between the two priorities safety and reintegration. In our purview, the societal claims to safety, the right of offenders to humane treatment and placement, and the explicit objective of the legislator to reintegrate offenders into society, are interconnected like nowhere else. In order to do these expectations justice, the penal sanctions system has undergone dynamic developments and changes in the last few years.
Gathering experience, doing research, developing
Corrections and Rehabilitation is committed to reintegration as the ultimate goal of incarceration, therapies, and all other forms of intervention. But what helps? And what doesn’t?
At Corrections and Rehabilitation, procedures and standards are continuously assessed and evaluated. This includes the development and optimization of practical and effective forms of enforcement, therapy, consultation, and treatment.
The work that our staff does must be based on solid empirical research. Continuously seeking and discussing new scientific findings influences the ways we treat the offenders that we are entrusted with – be it during the prison sentence, in social counselling, therapy, or probation assistance.
Corrections and Rehabilitation is committed to research
At the beginning of 2019, the head of the Department of Justice and Home Affairs of the Canton of Zurich decided to establish a new main department for the field of Research & Development (R&D) in Corrections and Rehabilitation.
One core task of the main department is to examine and further develop concepts and approaches concerning questions and issues in the administration of penal sanctions. The employees of Research & Development are highly competent in the evaluation of scientific methods and have well-founded expert knowledge of various disciplines relevant to the penal sanctions system (including forensic psychology, epidemiology, psychiatry, biostatistics, psychometrics, diagnosis, criminal law, the law of the enforcement of sentences and measures, and criminology).
R&D assesses the effectiveness of the approaches that are currently being applied in corrections concerning the evaluation of the risk of recidivism and the treatment and supervision of offenders, and, if necessary, develops them further. This also includes standards that are set for the employees and the question of how the selection and training of staff can influence the prison climate. And, last but not least, communication with the members of the staff also falls within the purview of the new R&D main department, as well as modern employer marketing with which Corrections and Rehabilitation prepares for the recruitment of new employees.
The dynamic social and societal developments and their effects on the penal sanctions system, but also its increasingly important role in the public perception, demand that the new organizational unit also reinforce its efforts in the field of reputation management. This is why the responsibilities of R&D include the further improvement of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s visibility and public image, the declaration of its self-perception and its tasks, and the establishment of a dialogue with the interested public.
At the same time, the R&D main department influences the structures of the office itself – thus operating both inward and outward. Its main tasks and responsibilities include the conception and implementation of events of the Corrections and Rehabilitation Academy (JuWe-Akademie) that specifically benefit and further the employees, development measures on the job, but also training and continuing education as well as specialized training courses for specific target groups and experts.
The R&D main department sees itself as a catalyst for innovative projects in the entire office. So, in the end, it is at the disposal of all employees looking for fresh ideas for their organizational unit. Research and Development should not be restricted to one main department.