Prison Conditions in the Member States: Selected European Standards and Best Practices

17-01-2017

This paper provides an overview of European standards and good practices regarding prison conditions. Action by the EU in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters is affected by detention conditions across EU Member States. The Council of Europe has adopted numerous recommendations and standards on conditions of life in prison, and the European Court of Human Rights has found that detention conditions may breach the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. The paper provides an overview of common problems affecting prisons in the EU Member States (from overcrowding to general conditions of life in prison) and describes some of the identified best practices to solve them. Specific attention is paid to pre-trial detention, to the use of alternative (non-custodial) measures, to measures aimed at social reintegration and prevention of recidivism, and to the special safeguards and standards developed as regards vulnerable prisoners (such as children, women, or mentally ill detainees).

This paper provides an overview of European standards and good practices regarding prison conditions. Action by the EU in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters is affected by detention conditions across EU Member States. The Council of Europe has adopted numerous recommendations and standards on conditions of life in prison, and the European Court of Human Rights has found that detention conditions may breach the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. The paper provides an overview of common problems affecting prisons in the EU Member States (from overcrowding to general conditions of life in prison) and describes some of the identified best practices to solve them. Specific attention is paid to pre-trial detention, to the use of alternative (non-custodial) measures, to measures aimed at social reintegration and prevention of recidivism, and to the special safeguards and standards developed as regards vulnerable prisoners (such as children, women, or mentally ill detainees).