Word from the Chair

Dominik Lehner (Switzerland), Chairman

Sharing knowledge and improving standards in the field of execution of penal sanctions and measures

Welcome to the PC-CP website, where you will find useful information on the latest developments in the prison and probation fields both as regards the Council of Europe standards, principles and activities as well as events organised elsewhere in Europe. Across our continent prison population rates and the pursuit of effective community supervision and probation work often pose major challenges to the criminal justice systems. The Council of Europe is constantly advocating the development of policies and practices which should lead to using imprisonment as a measure of last resort, while reducing recidivism and protecting human rights of victims and offenders. The goal of the PC-CP is to contribute to developing standards and principles which give clear guidance to the national authorities for initiating and sustaining penitentiary reforms in practical and affordable ways. The Compendium of key standard-setting texts relating to prisons, probation and community sanctions and measures which you will also find on the site, serves as an important tool in seeking and applying contemporary work methods or in bench marking for improving the existing national standards. You may also consult the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics (SPACE) which are a valuable source of scientifically verified data regarding prisons and community sanctions and measures in the Council of Europe member States.

The Council for Penological Co-operation (PC-CP) was created by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in June 1980 as an advisory body to the Steering Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC). For many years it comprised seven independent members elected by the CDPC in their personal capacity. Since the adoption of CM/Res(2011)24 in 2011 the PC-CP has become a subordinate body to the CDPC holding one plenary meeting per year. It has a Working Group composed of nine members who meet four times a year and who are elected in their personal capacity by the CDPC. These are high-level representatives of prison administrations or of services entrusted with the implementation of non-custodial sanctions or measures or researchers or other experts having a thorough knowledge of penological questions.

The PC-CP drafts standard-setting texts, reports, opinions, collects information regarding the implementation by the prison and probation services of the relevant recommendations adopted by the Committee of Ministers, supervises the annual collection of statistical data related to prisons and to non-custodial sanctions and measures (SPACE I & II), organises meetings and high level conferences of the Directors of prison and probation services of the 47 member States.

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: Martina Barić, Nathalie Boissou, Sylvie Elter, Anna Ferrari, Ilina Taneva, Dominik Lehner, Annie Devos, Nikolaos Koulouris, Christine Coleur, Attila Juhász, Nadya Radkovska, Robert Friškovec.