21st PC-CP Working Group meeting

1 Aprile 2019, Strasbourg 



The 24th Council of Europe Annual Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services (21-22 May 2019, Cyprus) will also discuss the impact of new technologies and AI on managing and dealing with offenders.

I thank the Cypriot hosts in the presence of their representative: Athena DEMETRIOU, Deputy Head of the Prison Department.

Looking forward to taking part in this event and to listening to the presentations. The programme shows a balance between prison and probation services’ presentations, as well as between traditional working methods and new technologies.  Hope to be a great success as usual;

Currently the press conference announcing the publication of the SPACE 2018 reports is taking place in Palais and tomorrow in Brussels.

Impressive amount of media attention is attracted by these publications and also by the recently published longitudinal studies on prison trends in Europe (2005-2015) and on foreign offenders (2009-2015). This is an excellent work carried out by the team of experts from the University of Lausanne, led by Prof Marcelo Aebi and we very much value it. Thank the PCCP for ensuring the guidance and the follow-up to this work. 

Welcome the drafting of Guidelines for the recruitment, selection, education, training and professional development of prison and probation staff which is expected to be finalised at this meeting and to be adopted by the CDPC at the end of April this year.

Thank the scientific experts Nicola Carr and Torben Adams for their work. The CoE counts on the PC-CP to promote this text, once adopted, to accelerate its translation into the national languages and its use in practice. Without adequate selection and training of staff no penal and penitentiary reform is possible, whatever technological developments lie in front of us the human factor in inducing positive changes in offenders will remain the most important;

Was informed that the work on the revision and updating of the European Prison Rules is in its final stages and the new version is expected to be approved by the CDPC in December this year with a view to its adoption by the CM early next year. This is a very important and needed text, referred to constantly in the Court’s judgements and CPT reports but also in numerous other sources worldwide.

Thank the representatives of the CPT and of the ECtHR for contributing actively to this work and of course, thank the scientific experts (Dirk van Zyl Smit and Harvey Slade – not attending the meeting) and the PC-CP members;


Understood that work is starting at this meeting on the management of sex offenders by the prison and probation services: this is a very topical issue as their numbers are on a rise in prisons and under probation and they need special attention and efficient supervision and assistance. Welcome this work and the scientific experts present: Marianne Fuglestved and Kieran McCartan.

Some of you, like myself, will attend the High-Level Conference “Responses to prison Overcrowding” (24-25 April 2019, Strasbourg).  We are expecting about 150 participants, mostly judges and prosecutors and representatives of the Ministries of Justice and we also expect interesting discussions and important outcomes by raising the awareness of the judiciary regarding the consequences of their sentencing practices on prison numbers.

We do hope that this Conference will prepare the ground for a Conference of the Ministers of Justice on the same topic with a view of inciting the member States to adopt national long-term strategies and action plans to manage better the system of penal sanctions and measures.

Quite important tasks lay in front of you at this meeting and I wish you success in your work.