19th Middle European Correctional Roundtable – MECR

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The 19th Middle European Correctional Roundtable (MECR) was held from 27 to 29 September at the Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb and the Lepoglava Penitentiary, organised by the Prison System and Probation Directorate of Croatia's Ministry of Justice and Public Administration.

Apart from Croatian representatives, the Roundtable was attended by delegations from the prison systems of Austria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Roundtable was opened by Mr Zvonimir Penić, Director General of the Prison System and Probation Directorate.
The participants were presented with the Croatian system of execution of criminal sanctions, legal framework, organisation and functioning of the prison system and probation, novelties in relation to the previous meeting as well as positive practices and challenges in the management of the system. All the participating delegations shared their experiences, too.
The special topic of this year’s meeting was the organisation of medical treatment and healthcare of persons deprived of liberty in the prison system, where the participants also shared their experiences with a view to finding the best solutions aligned with international recommendations and the specifics of the internal organisation of the prison and healthcare system of individual member states.
On the last day of the meeting, the delegations visited the Lepoglava Penitentiary, where they got acquainted with the functioning of one of the largest and oldest penal authorities in Croatia through a presentation, a tour and a discussion.
The Middle European Correctional Roundtable is an informal and voluntary mechanism and platform for direct communication and exchange of experience among the leaders of a group of European prison systems, who face similar challenges. Its purpose is to promote security in prisons and better integration of persons deprived of liberty into society, and to contribute to the security and protection of communities through the exchange of best practices.
The Prison System and Probation Directorate of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of the Republic of Croatia is one of the founders of the MECR, whose members now include: Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany (Bavaria), Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.