PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

News about the escape of a terrorist who vanished on

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news about the escape of a terrorist who vanished on his seventh furlough caused major public scandals recently. This kind of media coverage puts pressure on prison authorities to enforce restrictive prison rules and disciplinary or criminal charges against prison personnel members to avoid negative publicity. We notice therefore that the impact of the crisis has involved recurring violations of prisoners' human rights. As we already highlighted in the introduction, this is a violation of article 4 of the EPR, which asserts that: “Prison conditions that infringe prisoners’ human rights are not justified by lack of resources”.
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 56 In composing the final report of the “Detention in Europe” workstream , our main focus was on the following topics: health, education, training and work opportunities, security, safety, actions promoting rehabilitation, and the juvenile penitentiary system. For each issue we tried to highlight how and to what degree the conditions in the participating countries, as conveyed by the data collected in each report, comply with the European Prison Rules (EPR). Here we give an overview of our findings. Health Despite the EPR provision that healthcare in prison should be integrated with the national systems, only in France, Italy and the UK, are the national Ministries of Health responsible for delivery in prison. However, medical, surgical and psychiatric services in prison are scarce in all the countries involved. A permanent medical practitioner is not always present in every establishment, and even when one is, demand often exceeds capacity to deliver care. Despite EPR rules and national laws setting clear guidelines on this matter, acutely contagious sick prisoners are not always isolated, while risks related to solitary confinement are often overlooked (the same is true for mental illness treatment and suicide prevention, as the high number of suicides indicate). Further, due to the shortage of resources, meeting the needs of all the prisoners suffering from drug addiction can be problematic, despite the provisions of EPR 42.3. Harm reduction policies are not implemented, with the sole exception of Spain. Education In most of the participating countries, educational institutions that operate in prison include all levels of education, up to university. This conforms with EPR recommendations. However, due to a lack of resources, the types of courses and opportunities offered are often limited (in particular for higher education). Educational courses are commonly run by the Ministries of Education (as prescribed by the EPR), but informal education programmes exist, sometimes organized by members of prison staff (i.e. in Greece). Distance learning is offered only in France, Spain, Portugal and the UK, but prisoners can rarely afford it because of the high costs. Libraries exist everywhere but, despite EPR provisions, access is sometimes made difficult for security or organisational reasons and the availability of foreign language books is limited.
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