24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice

4-5 October 2001, Moscow (Russian Federation)

Resolution No 2 on the "implementation of long-term sentences"

The Ministers participating in the 24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Moscow, October 2001),
Considering that the enforcement of sentences requires striking a balance between objectives such as ensuring security, good order and discipline in penal institutions on the one hand, and providing decent living conditions and active regimes for the prisoners, on the other;
Considering that the enforcement of long-term sentences and life sentences in particular poses a heavy burden on prison administrations and on society as a whole;
Concerned about the increase, in many countries, in the number and length of long-term sentences, which contribute to prison overcrowding and impair the effective and humane management of prisoners in full conformity with international human rights standards;
Aware of the particular situation of some countries whose prison administrations face severe difficulties in connection with the enforcement of long-term and life sentences, due in particular to a lack of adequate resources and staff;
Welcoming that on the proposal of the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) the Committee of Ministers instructed the Committee of Experts on the management of life-sentenced and other long-term prisoners (PC-LT) to elaborate guidelines for good practice,
Bearing in mind the importance of the principles contained in existing relevant instruments, in particular Resolution (76) 2 on the treatment of long-term prisoners, Recommendation R (87) 3 on the European Prison Rules and Recommendation R (82) 17 on the custody and treatment of dangerous prisoners;
Also bearing in mind that the implementation of the principles contained in Recommendation R (99) 22 concerning prison overcrowding and prison population inflation as well as the provision to prison administrations of adequate resources and staff would reduce an important part of the management problems related to long-term imprisonment and allow for safer and better conditions of detention;
EXPRESS their support for the work undertaken by Committee PC-LT and encourage the Committee to pursue its efforts with a view to concluding its work before the end of 2002;
INVITE the Committee of Ministers to give priority to the work in this field and to support and develop the co-operation programmes put in place to promote the reform of prison systems.