The Cooperation in Police and Deprivation of Liberty (CPDL) Division, (formally Criminal Law Cooperation Unit) assists member States to integrate Council of Europe standards into the national legislation and practice, and to address recommendations coming from the Council of Europe monitoring bodies, the most notably from the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, but also from the Human Rights Commissioner, and the Parliamentary Assembly.

CPDL implements numerous projects in the field of police, probation, prisons, and other closed institutions where people were held deprived of their liberty.

CPDL works directly with the national authorities and international organisations to identify the most prominent needs and to address it, and to bring a change to the beneficiaries through appropriate technical assistance.

Since 2007, with an average of 16 projects per year, financed mainly by the European Union, but also through voluntary contributions from member States directly towards specific project or towards Actions Plans for specific member State, were implemented by the CPDL. Currently CPDL is responsible for coordinating 18 projects in 13 countries, as presented below:

interactive map


The relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) highlight areas for improvement where member States need to act in order to conform to the Council of Europe’s standards in the field of prisons and as regards the actions of law enforcement officials. Emphasis is placed on combating ill-treatment and impunity as regards law enforcement structures. The Council of Europe is the pan-European platform for discussion of new challenges facing law enforcement and correctional services, which inform standard setting and exchange of good practices.


CPDL supports countries in enhancing prisoners' human rights, the provision of health care and including mental health in prisons, treatment programmes for detained persons, sustainable rehabilitation of violent extremist prisoners, prisons and probation cooperation, enhancing penitentiary capacities in addressing radicalisation in prisons, introducing dynamic security, improving the juvenile justice systems, and strengthening the education/training of penitentiary staff.


CPDL assists countries to fully endorse the concept of probation in practice through providing the necessary legislative, institutional and operational framework.


CPDL assists countries in respecting the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty by a public authority, such as social care institutions and psychiatric establishments. 




Key documentation

 European Prison Rules

 Legal instruments

SaveSaveSaveSave Publications

 Useful links


 CPDL Highlights

2015  /  2016  /  2017  2018 / 2019