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NCJ Number: 218109 Find in a Library
Title: Humanising Imprisonment: A European Project?
Journal: European Journal on Criminal Policy Research  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:2006  Pages:107-120
Author(s): Dirk van Zyl Smit
Date Published: 2006
Page Count: 14
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper focuses on the continued significance of human rights in the movement to develop a more comprehensive European framework to improve prison conditions.
Abstract: Prime amongst the developments described as challenges is the further specification of what the human rights norms that enjoy universal recognition mean in practice for prisoners. Secondly, the challenge is to ensure that mechanisms are created to ensure that the necessary practical steps are taken to guarantee these rights for prisoners. However, dangers exist, one of which is that a failure by the Council of Europe to develop even a restricted, legally binding European Prison Charter could result in the European Union going it alone. This would mean the acceptance that prisoners are better protected in some parts of Europe than others. Today, there is much pessimism about prison reform. The world prison population is continuing to grow and with it prison overcrowding and poor prison conditions. This paper argues that much of this pessimism is misplaced. In important parts of the world, human rights discourse continues to be a key factor in prison reform. This paper describes how in Europe, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, a combination of a growing commitment to human rights and increased monitoring is having a positive effect. It is speculated that a relationship exists between the increased concern for human rights in Eastern Europe as the countries of the region have been drawn into complying with pan-European standards and the decline in absolute prison numbers. This article focuses primarily on the factors that have combined to make humanizing prisons a continuing project in Europe and examines recent developments that exemplify this project and what direction it should take in the future. References
Main Term(s): Prisoner's rights
Index Term(s): Europe; European Convention on Human Rights; Foreign inmates; Human rights; Inmates; Prison conditions; Prison overcrowding; United Nations standards
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