cover image: Guidance document on the European Prison Rules (2023)


Guidance document on the European Prison Rules (2023)


This Guidance Document on the European Prison Rules (EPR) is co-published by Penal Reform International (PRI) and the Council of Europe, within the joint European Union/Council of Europe project ‘SPACE Reports and EU Network of prison monitoring bodies (the European NPM Forum)’. The EPR, adopted by the Council of Europe, set out standards on the management of prisons and the treatment of people in prison. They apply in all Council of Europe member States and provide critical guidance to prison staff on how to protect and safeguard the human rights of people in prison – from admission to release. The rules have been revised four times since 1973, most recently in 2020.The document has been produced following detailed desk research and consultation and outreach with practitioners. A wide range of inter-governmental institutions, prison experts and representatives of civil society with practical experience have kindly contributed their time and expertise. The authors would like to thank all of them for their crucial input and generous contributions.This guidance document can be used as a reference document and as a resource for reviewing legislation, developing policies and in training criminal justice actors and other relevant stakeholders in Europe.The document offers practical guidance to legislators, policymakers, prison authorities, monitoring bodies, probation services, social welfare and healthcare services, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders, to help and encourage them to take action to respond appropriately to the needs of prisoners in Europe.
european prison reform


Co-produced by Penal Reform International (PRI) and the Council of Europe, with the financial support of the European Union and the Council of Europe

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