PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

In greece the punished prisoners can appeal to the

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request a review by a senior district judge. In Greece the punished prisoners can appeal to the Court for the Execution of Sentences (which is a three member judicial council), in Spain they can appeal to the judge of Execution, In Portugal to the Tribunal de Execução de Penas. Nevertheless these attempts to revise the punishments are often useless and ineffective because they are rarely revised. Usually the duration of these procedures is very long and there is the risk that the judge implements the sanctions. About the issue of the use of force, the European prison rules prescribe that “Prison staff shall not use force against prisoners except in self-defence or in cases of attempted escape or active or passive physical resistance to a lawful order and always as a last resort”(64.1) and that “The amount of force used shall be the minimum necessary and shall be imposed for the shortest necessary time” (64.2). They prescribe also that there should be some s tipulations about “the various types of force that may be used, the circumstances in which each type of force may be used, the members of staff who are entitled to use different types of force, the level of authority required before any force is used and the reports that must be completed once force has been used” (65). Finally European prison rules assert that: “Staff who deal directly with prisoners shall be trained in techniques that enable the minimal use of force in the restraint of prisoners who are a ggressive” (66). As we can see, the European Prison Rules try to balance the prison officers’ use of force and the respect for the detainees’ rights through some constraints and limitations. These constraints and limitations refer both to those who use the physical force and to the modalities through which they must be applied. Therefore, the European Prison Rules seem to admit that prisons are dangerous places, characterized by the threat of violence used by prisoners to attack prison officers, who must protect themselves using, in turn, physical force towards inmates. These rules define the cases in which physical force can be used trying to manage and maybe limit such practices, which are probably considered impossible to eliminate from prison. As has stated, for example, Edney (1997: 289): “we USE OF FORCE
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 38 know better but we tend, at the same time, to assume that if prisons are peaceful everything is well within. From my experience as a prison officer this confidence is misplaced because violence does occur and the threat of violence against prisoners is ever present, not only from other prisoners but from prison officers who employ force as an instrument of social control within prisons”. As highlighted by the national reports, ideally, the prison officers’ use of force should be used only in exceptional cases defined by law: to deal with prisoners’ violent acts, to prevent escape attempts and in case of resistance to officer’s orders, as prescribed by the European Prison Rules. The national laws
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