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Parliamentary questions
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27 November 2019
Answer given by Ms Jourová
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003096/2019

Issues related to alternative measures to detention, including actions that could be undertaken by the Commission, are currently discussed during the Finnish Presidency and the objective is to adopt Council Conclusions on this topic at the Justice and Home Affairs Council of December 2019.

Member States have indicated that there is no need to create an additional monitoring body at EU level, next to the work already undertaken by the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT). It was stressed though that there was a need to strengthen the existing networks.

Therefore, since 2016, the Commission provides a direct grant to the Council of Europe aimed at the operation of a European Forum of independent prison monitoring bodies, the so-called National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs)(1). It allows these bodies to meet regularly within an informal network to discuss detention matters and exchange best practices(2).

Both the CPT and the NPMs already publish detailed reports on the situation of prisons in Europe.

(1)24 Member States have set up an NPM following ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Only four Member States are not yet parties — Belgium, Ireland, Slovakia (although these three countries have signed the Protocol) and Latvia (which has not signed).
(2)European Forum of National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs): https://www.coe.int/en/web/national-implementation/european-npm-forum-phase-2- . Under this direct grant, the Commission is also financing the collection of the Council of Europe’s Annual Penal Statistics, better known as SPACE (Statistiques Pénales Annuelles du Conseil de l’Europe), by ensuring that a common working methodology is applied to enhance comparability of data across Europe. https://www.coe.int/en/web/prison/eu/council-of-europe-project
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