10/12/2019 - - Partners
‘Criminal detention conditions in the European Union: rules and reality’ report of the EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (FRA)

‘Criminal detention conditions in the European Union: rules and reality’ report of the EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (FRA)

 

On 11 December 2019, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its report ‘Criminal detention conditions in the European Union: rules and reality’.

 

The report ‘Criminal detention conditions in the European Union: rules and reality’ outlines selected minimum criminal detention standards at the international and European level, and how they translate into national law.

It also shows how these rules apply in practice focusing on:
•    Cell size: Overcrowding often leads to prisoners having less than 3m2 per prisoner, violating the recommended minimum of 4m2.
•    Time outside: Member States do not always regulate how long prisoners can spend outside their cell. Sometimes prisoners spend one hour per day outside their cell, which especially is insufficient in overcrowded prisons.
•    Sanitation: Dirty prisons with limited access to bathrooms breach international and national laws, even though conditions are slowly improving.
•    Healthcare: Although prisoners should benefit from the same level of healthcare as the public, staff shortages often lead to delays. They also lack privacy during their examinations.
•    Violence: Fights, sexual violence and bullying among prisoners is common in many Member States, despite the States’ obligation to protect inmates under their custody.

The findings will guide judges and other legal practitioners to assess whether prisoners are at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of their fundamental rights.
This is especially useful when deciding on cross-border cases, such as when Member States execute a European Arrest Warrant.

FRA’s new online criminal detention database complements the report. It contains national standards, laws and monitoring reports on detention conditions from across the EU.

The European Commission asked FRA to compile information on prison conditions and monitoring across all EU Member States to assist judicial authorities when deciding on transferring detainees to another EU Member State.

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