Study on “prisons and detention conditions in the EU”

Monday March 6th, 2023

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Dr. Burchett, Prof. Weyembergh and Ms. Ramat worked on a study addressing the issues of “prisons and detention conditions in the EU”.

This study has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee and aims to provide background information and policy recommendations concerning prisons and detention conditions in the EU.

The study covers topical issues relating to the pressing fundamental rights concerns stemming from degrading prison conditions across EU Member States as well as their detrimental effects on mutual recognition. The topic is of particular relevance and worth examining from an EU-law perspective also in light of the recent adoption of Commission Recommendation COM(2022) 8987 final, on procedural rights of suspects and accused persons subject to pre-trial detention and on material detention conditions.

This study is structured in five main parts.

  • Chapter 1 provides background information on some selected pressing issues faced by Member States in relation to detention conditions.
  • Chapter 2 assesses the impact of poor detention conditions on mutual recognition in criminal matters, in particular on the implementation of the EAW Framework Decision and the Framework Decision on the transfer of prisoners.
  • Chapter 3 provides a map of the most relevant European standards regulating prison conditions while highlighting several shortcomings in their implementation.
  • Chapter 4 discusses the use of alternative measures and sanctions to detention as one of the key parameters promoted to reduce prison population and improve mutual trust between Member States.
  • Chapter 5 provides a general conclusion summarising the main findings of the study, as well as policy recommendations.”

The full text of the study is available in open access here.