A Brief History

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency, and Queen’s University, hosted the world at a first-of-its-kind international symposium called “Beyond Prisons” in Kingston, Ontario. Eighty delegates from 35 countries around the globe attended the symposium. At the end of the Beyond Prisons Symposium, by way of resolution, attendees unanimously constituted themselves as an association in an effort to continue the work started there. CSC accepted the lead organisational role, and committed to provide initial seed money, staff resources, and office space for the start-up phase to formalize plans.

The Israel Prison Service hosted a conference in Tel Aviv as part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s statehood. Directors General from other prison agencies around the world were invited. The five day event was attended by about 50 corrections professionals from 22 nations, some of whom also had attended the Beyond Prisons Symposium. The Israeli Prison Service had a strong belief in the exchange of knowledge and need for a continuing cooperation in professional issues among leaders concerning prisons. As part of the formal conference agenda, the subject of the “Establishment of an International Correctional Organisation” was discussed and widely accepted. This event resulted in yet another resolution, calling for the creation of a steering ‘committee’ to formally establish the organisation within the coming 12 months.

CSC assumed its leadership position and organized the formal planning session, with an aggressive agenda that would set the stage for the way forward. The initial strategic planning meeting to provide shape and direction for the Association was scheduled in Toronto, Ontario, September 8 and 9, 1998. A group of 24 dedicated individuals representing ten countries came together to plan the formal establishment of the Association and to develop its initial program of work.

Following the meeting, CSC staff assigned to the Association moved forward with the agreed upon action plan to complete the start-up process. The official incorporation documents were signed by Industries Canada on the 20th of November, and the vision of an international corrections association became a reality.

Today, the International Corrections and Prisons Association continues to grow in both size and influence. Since its inception it has organised a number of events and conferences in every world region solidifying its image as the only Global Corrections Community for professionals across the globe.

Special recognition is given to our host organisations, Correctional Service Canada, Scottish Prison Service, Dutch Custodial Institutions and the Belgian Prison Service who have supported the organisation over the years.