Word from the Chair

A society in transformation: our challenge for improving standards and practices in the field of the enforcement of custodial and non-custodial sanctions

Annie Devos (Belgium), PC-CP Chair

Welcome to the PC-CP website, which provides you with the standards and recommendations established by the Council of Europe in the field of the execution of custodial and non-custodial sanctions. You will also find information on the work that has taken place since 2011 or is currently in progress.

The Compendium relating to prisons and to community sanctions and measures is a collection of the main texts related to our field of interest. SPACE I and SPACE II bring together the annual penal statistics of the Council of Europe, the first one in the field of prisons and the second one in the field of probation.

They are a very valuable source of data which allow us to monitor closely the evolution of certain phenomena. Finally, this web site relays information on interesting events organised across Europe.

The issue of custodial and non-custodial sanctions and their execution are important questions for the 47 Council of Europe member States and for our societies in general.

Through its recommendations and other standard-setting texts, the Council of Europe supports the States in designing and implementing innovative penal policies by drawing on its benchmark, namely supporting and promoting human rights, the rule of law and democracy.

The aim of the PC-CP is to contribute to the elaboration of recommendations, guidelines and even handbooks that are sufficiently clear and concrete to assist national authorities in improving prison and probation policies.

Deprivation of liberty is seen as an ultimum remedium. In many Council of Europe countries there are problems of prison overcrowding and an increasing use of alternatives to imprisonment. Contrary to popular belief, there are not necessarily channels between custodial and non-custodial sanctions. Instead there is an increasing overcrowding in both areas. This puts into question the meaning given to both imprisonment and alternative sanctions in our societies that are becoming increasingly complex in social, economic and political terms.

Over the next two years, the PC-CP will, inter alia, prepare a draft recommendation on the assessment, management and reintegration into society of persons who have committed sexual offences, examine the need to develop Council of Europe standards in the field of the management of offenders with mental disabilities or disorders, look into the impact and added value of the use of new technologies including artificial intelligence by the prison and probation services in the management of suspects and offenders, etc..

The PC-CP Working Group and Secretariat:

Photo © Council of Europe: Elected members of the Council for Penological Co-operation (PC-CP) Working Group and Secretariat: Manfred Kost, Laura Negredo López, Vivian Geiran, Robert Friškovec, Martina Barić, Maria Lindström, Annie Devos (Chair), Nadya Radkovska (Vice-Chair), Ilina Taneva (PC-CP Secretary), Christine Coleur (Secretariat).