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Criminal Justice and Social Work 2020-2021

LET OP! Dit is een Engelstalige minor/PAY ATTENTION! This minor is in English.

Europe is facing many great challenges that result from the need for increased integration of policies in the area of freedom, security and justice in Europe:

- The Council of Europe has set up Probation Rules which describe a number of basic elements (knowledge, skills and values) that have to be met by probation services. This is supported by the Stockholm Program, the EU Prison Rules and the United Nations Prison Rules: each country must offer the same quality of supervision, detention or guidance: European citizens must have the same rights. In this minor you learn who to make a contribution to the synchronization of these rights.

- Probation Services are still under development in a large number of European countries (Van Kalmthout & Durnescu 2010 – Probation in Europe). Professionalism is an important part of this development. In this minor you will learn about the professionalism in Europe and especially in the Netherlands.

- Citizens in Europe must have the opportunity for (suspended) prison in the country of origin. This is explicitly stated in the Framework Decisions. The implementation of the opportunity for (suspended) prison in the country of origin starts in November 2011. Many countries are now preparing themselves, mostly in legal sense. After 2011 there will be a large number of convicted persons who want to use the solution of the Framework Decisions: this requires a mainstreaming of methods of detention and probation for Europe. Probation officers in Europe must be trained and educated to implement the Framework Decisions and to use them in a genuine European way. This project offers education and training modules to implement the Framework Decisions.

The contribution of European education in the field of Criminal Justice Social Work (CJSW) is necessary to support the integration of policies in the area of freedom, security and justice in Europe.

In this minor you will participate in 6 modules. The modules focus on the skills, knowledge and values extracted from the Council of Europe Probation Rules, written by professors Rob Canton, Sonja Snacken, Anton van Kalmhout, and adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 20 January 2010 at the 1075th meeting of the Ministers‟ Deputies. The Probation Rules were not only important to structure the teaching materials, but were also of normative value: Europe expects us to educate our (future) professionals according to these guidelines.

The 6 modules are:

1. Perspectives & Legal Context
This module addresses the following four concepts:

- Why have probation organizations been developed in almost all European countries as an alternative or addition to prison sentences? In connection to this: What is the mission of probation work? What are the shared foundations, or charters, between the organizations? Why did probation work became a profession?

- What is the purpose and what are the goals of probation work in Europe: The module will look into different and sometimes apparently conflicting goals of probation work: social safety and crime reduction, social inclusion, rehabilitation and restoration.

- How are probation organizations embedded in national and international law? The module will focus on European laws and so-called framework decisions, European prison and probation rules, but also on major defenses in national law and criminal justice systems.

- How does probation work? The module will teach students how probation work relies on the social sciences. The major approaches here are What Works, the desistance / good lives approach and basic elements of social work with offenders, including monitoring & risk-management.

Study load: 6 ECTS (12 UK Credits)
Lead developers: De Montfort University and the Université de Reims-Champagne


2. Working Alliance

This module allows the student to develop skills, knowledge and values related to one of the most important elements of probation work: Developing a working alliance with the offender. Many practitioners and researchers regard this as the heart of probation work. Guidance and control must be combined, resulting in a so-called hybrid relationship. Apart from general considerations and training in this subject, the module allows students to tailor their skills to special offender groups, such as women offenders, and offenders with psychiatric disorders.

Study load: 6 ECTS (12 UK Credits)
Lead developers: Avans University, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Dutch Probation Services.


3. Assessment & Report Writing

Analysis of the offenders personal situation and context (especially of the reasons behind his criminal behavior) and the use of reliable decision making techniques are of paramount importance for formulating the right goals and the most suitable strategies and interventions. To this end, both risk assessment and interviewing techniques have been developed. Probation workers are not in the position to decide about all guidance and controlling measures on their own. They are dependent on court-decisions and to this end they are often required to write pre-sentence reports. This, in itself, is an important skill that gets major attention in this module.

Study load: 6 ECTS (12 UK Credits)
Lead developers: De Montfort University and KRUS


4. Working in a (Learning) Organization

Probation work is a challenging profession. Many offenders confront the worker with major problems that make them fall back into criminal behavior. Caseloads tend to be high, and the criminal justice process in itself is often complex and time-consuming. Probation workers therefore need resilience, optimism, excellent project management skills and team building skills.

Study load: 3ECTS (6 UK Credits)
Lead developers: Avans University, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, and the Université de Reims-Champagne


5. Developing Human Capital

Human capital is typically seen as motivation; capacities, skills and knowledge that can support individuals to live a constructive and fulfilling life. Motivating offenders to change their old habits is an important part of probation work. Especially on the role of human capital and the ability of practitioners to assist offenders in living more conventional lives. Theoretical frameworks, such as Risk-Need-Responsivity, the Good Lives Model and Desistance are discussed. The way research-based knowledge should be used in everyday practice is also discussed in the module.

Study load: 6 ECTS (12 UK Credits)
Lead developers: Bucharest University and the University of Latvia


6. Social Capital and Social Networks    

This module explores the concepts of social capital, social networks and social support. It considers the role of probation officers and services in working with others to support offenders into better lives as better citizens. This is intended to complement the focus in other modules on how probation staff can work to help people improve themselves; by contrast, this module is more concerned with the wider social and community contexts of positive change, and on the range of agencies and services engaged in this process.

Study load: 3ECTS (6 UK Credits)
Lead developers: Avans University, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, and the Université de Reims-Champagne


7. Perspectives on juvenile justice

In this module the focus is on young offenders. In many countries, law and legislation is different for juveniles concerning detention and probation. You will discuss these differences and similarities in the context of children’s rights. The module also covers and discusses different approaches.

You will gain insight into the way juvenile justice work relies on the social sciences. Like for adults, the key approaches include: What Works, the system approach and basic elements of social work with young offenders, including monitoring, risk management and restorative justice.

Study load: 6 ECTS credits


8. The Forensic Social Worker

In the field of prison and probation work, you will have to deal with clients suffering from addictions or psychiatric disorders or clients who display aggressive or otherwise deviant behaviour. To deal with this successfully, you will need to develop your knowledge and skills. In addition, you also need to learn how you to with difficult situations. What do you do when a client becomes aggressive towards you? What are you allowed to do? How can you address a client who is in a psychotic state?

In this module, you will focus on your own development. Together, we assess which skills and knowledge you already have and which skills and knowledge you want to develop.


Admissions requirements
- The level of your prior education has to be equivalent to a Higher General Secondary Education level (Dutch H.A.V.O.) and English or Pre-University Level (Dutch V.W.O.)
- In addition to the minimum diploma requirements, adequate knowledge of social work, sociology, law or psychology is required. At least one year of university of university of applied science is the field of Social Work, Law, Psychology or Sociology is required.
- If you are unsure whether you meet the admission requirements, please send us an email. If we are not familiar with your foreign diploma, NUFFIC, the Dutch organization for international recognition of diploma, will check the level for us.
- Read more about international secondary education diplomas on the website of Avans.

English language requirements for foreign students Exam
- Minimum score
- IELTS overall band 6
- TOEFL computer based 213
- TOEFL internet based 80
- See Avans website:

Aanvullende informatie

Let op:

De Avans-opleiding gekoppeld aan de deze minormodule is:
Culturele en Maatschappelijke Vorming Breda of Den Bosch (CMV-B of CMV-H)
Maatschappelijk Werk en Dienstverlening Breda of Den Bosch (MWD-B of MWD-H)
Sociaal Pedagogisch Hulpverlening Breda of Den Bosch (SPH-B of SPH-H)
Social Work Breda (SW-B of SW-H)

Deze informatie heb je nodig voor de inschrijving in Studielink.

Een externe student neemt eerst contact op met Michelle Reijntjens (minorcoördinator).

Het enkel toesturen van de leerovereenkomst (zonder contact vooraf met minorcoördinator voor reservering van een plaats op de deelnemerslijst) geeft geen garantie op deelname. De procedure is als volgt:

1.  Contact opnemen met programmaleider voor toelaatbaarheid en reserveren van een plaats op de deelnemerslijst.

2.  Leerovereenkomst van Kies op Maat uitprinten (ondertekenen door thuisinstelling, jezelf en minorcoördinator ASB)

3.  Inschrijving Avans voor 2019-2020 via studielink (zogenaamde 2e inschrijving)

Angèle Geerts, Minorcoördinator:
Michelle Reijntjens, application:


Assessments, written keys and portfolio


Digital manuals, Scientific articles
Books are not yet determined


1 Februari 2021 – 2 July 2021

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday