Prof. Dr. Ioan Durnescu
Professor University of Bucharest, Romania
CEO European Strategies Consulting and National Probation Directorate
Fellow of the Probation Institute / London

Prof. Dr. Ioan Durnescu is a member of the University of Bucharest’s Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, where he engages in the teaching and research of probation, prison reform, and deradicalization. His academic interests are deeply rooted in the comparative study of probation systems, the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals, and the development of effective interventions with justice-involved persons.
Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to conduct training sessions on core correctional skills across various countries, including Slovenia, Jordan, Moldova, Spain, and Kosovo. These sessions have not only allowed him to impart his knowledge but also to learn from the unique challenges and solutions found in different cultural contexts.
In his role as one of the editors for the European Journal of Probation, Prof. Dr. Durnescu contributes to the critical examination and dissemination of research that informs best practices in probation. He also pioneered the creation of ReHub, an innovative app designed to translate scientific research into practical tools for those working in prisons and probation services.
His work is characterized by a commitment to enhancing the field of criminal justice through a blend of scholarly research and practical application, always with an understated acknowledgment of the collective effort involved in reform and improvement.

Abstract: Probation around the world. A critical analysis
This conference aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of probation in Europe within the global community corrections context, highlighting key challenges and opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of probation services.
The discussion will be based on the findings from “The Routledge Handbook on Global Community Corrections,” which provides a comprehensive analysis of probation practices in 20 countries. The conference will address various aspects of probation, including its organizational structure, purpose, available treatment options, monitoring compliance, and the use of old and new technologies.
The presentation will conclude with the presentation of ten grand challenges for probation, providing a roadmap for future development and improvement in community corrections practices.

Pia Puolakka, Independent Expert, Finland

Ms Pia Puolakka has been working in the field of corrections since 2008. In 2018-2022 she worked as a project manager for the Smart Prison project implementing Finland’s first cell devices with digital services to a new women’s prison. She has specialized in rehabilitative and digital services in prisons and is also a specialist in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications for corrections. She has also done research regarding prison digitalization and use of AI in corrections which has received international attention. She is a member (co-chair) of the EuroPris ICT Expert group, and in 2021-2023 she was part of the Council of Europe’s Council for Penological Co-operation’s (PC-CP) expert group developing recommendations for the use of AI in corrections. By education she is a forensic psychologist and psychotherapist and is currently studying international leadership.

Abstract: Digitalization of Finnish Prisons – Research Results and International Impact

Digitalization of Finnish Prisons took a significant leap during covid-19 pandemic. Personal cell devices as part of the so-called Smart Prison concept were introduced. The Smart Prison concept states prison as a digital learning environment for a life without crime. We can see this as part of a wider development of digital rehabilitation: rehabilitation that uses digital means in a modern prison system to provide equal and accessible social, health care and educational services for prisoners. Several research articles have been published that reflect on this digital development in Finnish prisons (see References). Its impact on prisoners’ basic and human rights has also been discussed (Puolakka & Suomela, 2023). Digital transformation has also impact on the prison culture and staff’s roles and working flows (Puolakka, 2022). Another important finding in the latest research has been the importance of easier and more intensive communication between prisoners and their close ones from inside prison (Järveläinen & Rantanen, 2023). An important principle in the Nordic criminal policy is normality principle: the principle that prison conditions should be created to match the conditions of the rest of society as much as possible. Digitalization is a way to support the normality principle. Development of digitalization of prisons is proceeding in many countries worldwide – Finnish Smart Prison concept has got wide international interest. The next step in the prison digitalization, is the change Artificial Intelligence will bring – it can be the next revolution in prison concept (Puolakka & Van De Steene, 2021). My presentation will reflect these latest research results and international impacts.


Järveläinen, E., & Rantanen, T. (2021). Incarcerated people’s challenges for digital inclusion in Finnish prisons. Nordic Journal of Criminology, 22(2), 240–259.

Järveläinen, E., & Rantanen, T. (2023). Realisation of the principle of normalisation in the adoption of ICTs in a women’s prison: A Finnish qualitative study. Journal
of Criminology
 22(2), 242-259.

Puolakka, P. (2022). Implementing a Smart Prison in Finland. Advancing Corrections Journal, 14. ICPA.

Puolakka, P., & Van De Steene, S. (2021).  Artificial Intelligence in Prisons in 2030. An exploration on the future of Artificial Intelligence in Prisons. Advancing Corrections Journal, 11, ICPA.

Puolakka, P., & Suomela, M. (2023). Digitalization Supports Human Rights in Finnish Prisons. Advancing Corrections Journal, 16, 2023.

Rantanen, T., Järveläinen, E., & Leppälahti, T. (2021): Prisoners as Users of Digital Health Care and Social Welfare Services: A Finnish Attitude Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(11), 5528.

Rantanen, T., Järveläinen, E. & Leppälahti T. (2022). Self-efficacy and Use of Digital Health Care and Social Welfare Services Among Incarcerated People: Cross-sectional Survey Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(5): e36799.

Dr. Olga Tešović
Research Fellow, Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade, Serbia
Former Judge and President of the Basic Court, Požega, Serbia

Dr. Olga Tešović is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade, Serbia. Graduated from the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Law, where she earned her master’s in 2010 with a thesis on “Extended Criminal Offense,” and completed her Ph.D. in 2018, focusing on “Alternative Criminal Sanctions in the Criminal Law of the Republic of Serbia”. Her career in the judiciary spanned from 2006 to 2023, evolving from a judicial trainee to the president of the Basic Court in Požega, with a significant tenure as a judge specializing in criminal law.

In addition to her judiciary roles, Dr. Tešović has been deeply involved in research and educational initiatives, contributing extensively to the justice sector’s development through scientific studies and donor projects, both domestically and internationally. Her expertise lies in criminal law, international criminal law, and criminal procedural law, with a special focus on non-custodial sanctions and measures, and probation system development. A prolific author, she has contributed numerous publications in these areas, alongside her active role as a lecturer on alternative criminal sanctions at the Judicial Academy in Belgrade.

Abstract: Evaluating International Standards in Remote Judging: Comparative Analyses and the Intersection with Probation Practices
The presentation will be focused on the examination of the legal, technological, and procedural aspects of remote and online judging, with a contextual connection to probation practices. This presentation will be based on the comprehensive insights of the monograph “Remote Judging – Legal Framework and Practice,” where both academic scholars and judiciary representatives post-COVID-19 pandemic have critically analyzed the adaptation and implementation of international standards for remote trials. The presentation will be focused primarily on the mechanisms, technologies, and protocols that enable remote judicial proceedings, drawing from a wide array of international examples to understand the efficacy and reliability of online judging systems. It will examine the implications of these digital transformations on the integrity of legal processes, access to justice, and the potential biases introduced by technology. The connection with probation will be examined through the lens of remote supervision’s role in supporting the continuity of judicial oversight in a socially distanced world. By conducting a comparative analysis, this study will aim to highlight best practices, identify gaps in existing standards, and propose frameworks for the integration of remote judging with probation systems to enhance legal adaptability and accessibility worldwide.