Overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and limited time outside cells in prisons violate detainees’ rights and jeopardise rehabilitation, finds a new Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) report. The findings and supporting database will help judges and lawyers assess shortcomings in prison conditions when deciding on cross-border cases.
“International and EU prison rules are clear that prisoners should be treated with dignity,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “Prisoners often suffer degrading conditions during their imprisonment. EU Member States need to ensure respectful detention conditions to improve the chances of prisoners’ rehabilitation.”
The ‘Criminal detention conditions in the European Union: rules and reality’ report outlines selected minimum standards at international and European levels, and how they translate into national laws. It also shows how these rules apply in practice focusing on:
The findings will guide judges and other legal practitioners to assess whether prisoners are at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of their fundamental rights.
This is especially useful when deciding on cross-border cases, such as when Member States issue a European Arrest Warrant.
FRA’s new online criminal detention database complements the report. It contains national standards, laws and monitoring reports on detention conditions from across the EU.
FRA used reports from national monitoring bodies and interviews from previous research to illustrate how detention conditions vary across the Member States.
The European Commission asked FRA to compile information on prison conditions and monitoring across all EU Member States to assist judicial authorities when deciding on transferring detainees to another EU Member State
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