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The new prison rules of the Council of Europe

Theoretical aspects and practical limits of applicability

Issue 10/2020

Abstract. On 1st July 2020, almost fifteen years after the previous version of the European Prison Rules (EPR), the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe updated the document. This contribution aims to analyze the text of the new Recommendations, leveraging on the new elements that differentiate the document from Recommendation (Rec)2 of 2006, and thinking about the extent to which our country will be able to follow the new provisions, taking into account the strong aporia that characterize the Italian penitentiary system, particularly with regard to prison overcrowding. These reflections are even more urgent, given the impact that the health emergency from Covid-19 has had (also) on the prison system.

SUMMARY: 1. Preamble. – 2. The structure and key principles of the European Prison Rules of 1st July 2020. – 2.1. The provisions on detention conditions: a lost opportunity for reform. – 2.2. The new provisions on order and security in prisons. – 2.3. The monitoring of prisons and prisoner status. – 3. Concluding considerations.


To read the Reflection, click on “open file”.


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