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This year, it was a special honour for the West University of Timisoara to open its gates and welcome the participants of the 7th edition of the International Conference MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVES IN THE QUASI-COERCIVE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS – SPECTO 2018: Groups with special needs in community measures.

Our university has understood that one of the main missions of universities is to gather around the main factors that can change the social environment: members of the academic and research field, members of the public institutions, members of the political and social environment, economic agents and for sure, the young generation that we hope will be able to develop a better society. The university can offer the grounds for a multidisciplinary approach and to gather people with very different backgrounds that are preoccupied by different aspects of the quasi-coercitive treatment of offenders.

The fact that the main topics of this edition, focused on Central-Eastern Europe, are related to people with special needs in the criminal justice system shows that there are lots of people concerned with the direction in which the world is developing, with the problems that Europe and all the world are being faced lately, with the fact that there are still lots of social groups that are facing discrimination.

The West University of Timisoara has taken many steps in the direction of supporting such projects and of getting involved in different activities that can lead to a safer environment, a safer society. Unfortunately, the modern world hasn’t brought with it only the advantages of better communication, better logistics, more material goods, better knowledge in different fields of activity. It also brought more risks for the society and an increased need for the authorities, social and the educational factors to take common actions in improving the justice system as an important part of the social structure needed for a safer social environment.

A safer world should start with educating our young generation for a much diversified world, a world in which religious beliefs should not be used as factors of conflict, a world where the colour of our skins should be just a matter of diversity and not of discrimination, where gender and group belonging should be just statistics, where people with special needs in the criminal justice system still have rights and should be approached in a correct manner.

As university, we have the moral duty to change mentalities and to open minds and souls to a more tolerant society. The big number of events that our university is organizing, along with partners from all fields of activity, is meant to do exactly this: to show that diversity can lead to a better world, as long as it is correctly understood and regarded with an open heart and mind.

At the end of the SPECTO 2018 conference, the general secretary of Confederation of European Probation – CEP, MR. WILLEM VAN DER BRUGGE said:

“As Secretary General of CEP, I know very well what it is like to organize an international event like this SPECTO conference. You require sufficient financial resources and naturally also human resources. But most of all you require staff who show the same kind of enthusiasm, passion and dedication as the staff have shown. The vitality and ambiance of the West-University University makes this event very special; field-based probation practice meets internationally-recognized research!

You jointly examined practical ways and means to solve problems. Fortunately, there was a lot of opportunity to meet and talk with colleagues and exchange best practices, challenges or shared concerns regarding treatment of vulnerable people in criminal justice systems in Europe.

I encourage you to stay in contact with your colleagues in Europe and exchange information and knowledge about Probation Practice”.

We wish to thank the authors for the scientific quality of the submitted papers and all participants for their contribution to the success of SPECTO 2018.

We address special thanks to the members of the scientific and organizing committees of the conference, as well as to the technical team that has supported us throughout this endeavor.


Mihaela Tomita

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