Recommendation No. R(87)3

adopted by the Committee of Ministers

of the Council of Europe

on 12 February 1987


Explanatory memorandum

Strasbourg 1987




ON THE EUROPEAN PRISON RULES. When this Recommendation was adopted, and in application of Article 10.2.c of the Rules of Procedure for the meetings of the Minister's Deputies:

----The Representative of Denmark reserved the right of his Government to comply or not with Rule 38, paragraph 3, of the appendix to the Recommendation;

----The Representative of France reserved the right of his Government to comply or not with Rule 54, paragraph 2, of the appendix to the Recommendation.

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 February 1987

at the 404th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Considering the importance of establishing common principles regarding penal policy among the member states of the Council of Europe;

Noting that, although considerable progress has been made in developing non-custodial alternatives for dealing with offenders, the deprivation of liberty remains a necessary sanction in criminal justice systems;

Considering the important role of international rules in the practice and philosophy of prison treatment and management;

Noting, however, that significant social trends and changes in regard to prison treatment and management have made it desirable to reformulate the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners of the Council of Europe (Resolution (73) 5) so as to support and encourage the best of these developments and offer scope for future progress,

Recommends that the governments of member states be guided in their internal legislation and practice by the principles set out in the text of the European Prison Rules, appended to the present Recommendation, with a view to their progressive implementation with special emphasis on the purposes set out in the preamble and the rules of basic principle in Part I, and to give the widest possible circulation to this text.

Appendix to Recommendation No. R (87) 3

The European Prison Rules

Revised European version

of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners


The purposes of these rules are:

a. to establish a range of minimum standards for all those aspects of prison administration that are essential to human conditions and positive treatment in modern and progressive systems;

b. to serve as a stimulus to prison and administrations to develop policies and management style and practice based on good contemporary principles of purpose and equity;

c. to encourage in prison staffs professional attitudes that reflect the important social and moral qualities of their work and to create conditions in which they can optimise their own performance to the benefit of society in general, the prisoners in their care and their own vocational satisfaction;

d. to provide realistic basic criteria against which prison administrations and those responsible for inspecting the conditions and management of prisons can make valid judgements of performance and measure progress towards higher standards.

It is emphasized that the rules do not constitute a model system and that, in practice, many European prison services are already operating well above many of the standards set out in the rules and that others are striving, and will continue to strive, to do so. Wherever there are difficulties or practical problems to be overcome in the application of the rules, the Council of Europe has the machinery and the expertise available to assist with advice and the fruits of the experience of the various prison administrations within its sphere.

In these rules, renewed emphasis has been placed on the precepts of human dignity, the commitment of prison administrations to humane and positive treatment, the importance of staff roles and effective modern management approaches. They are set out to provide ready reference, encouragement and guidance to those who are working at all levels of prison administration. The explanatory memorandum that accompanies the rules is intended to ensure the understanding, acceptance and flexibility that are necessary to achieve the highest realistic level of implementation beyond the basic standards.


The basic principles

1. The deprivation of liberty shall be effected in material and moral conditions which ensure respect for human dignity and are in conformity with these rules.

2. The rules shall be applied impartially. There shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political of other opinion, national or social origin, birth, economic or other status. The religious beliefs and moral precepts of the group to which a prisoner belongs shall be respected.

3. The purposes of the treatment of persons in custody shall be such as to sustain their health and self-respect and, so far as the length of sentence permits, to develop their sense of responsibility and encourage those attitudes and skills that will assist them to return to society with the best chance of leading law-abiding and self-supporting lives after their release.

4. There shall be regular inspections of penal institutions and services by qualified and experienced inspectors appointed by a competent authority. Their task shall be, in particular, to monitor whether and to what extent these institutions are administered in accordance with existing laws and regulations, the objectives of the prison services and the requirements of these rules.

5. The protection of the individual rights of prisoners with special regard to the legality of the execution of detention measures shall be secured by means of a control carried out, according to national rules, by a judicial authority or other duly constituted body authorised to visit the prisoners and not belonging to the prison administration.

6. 1. These rules shall be made readily available to staff in the national languages;

2. They shall also be available to prisoners in the same languages and in other languages so far as is reasonable and practicable.


The management of prison systems

Reception and registration

7. 1. No person shall be received in an institution without a valid commitment order.

2. The essential details of the commitment and reception shall immediately be recorded.

8. In every place where persons are imprisoned a complete and secure record of the following information shall be kept concerning each prisoner received:

a. information concerning the identity of the prisoner;

b. the reasons for commitment and the authority therefor;

c. the day and hour of admission and release.

9. Reception arrangements shall conform with the basic principles of the rules and shall assist prisoners to resolve their urgent personal problems.

10. 1. As soon as possible after reception, full reports and relevant information about the personal situation and training program of each prisoner with a sentence of suitable length in preparation for ultimate release shall be drawn up and submitted to the director for information or approval as appropriate.

2. Such reports shall always include reports by a medical officer and the personnel in direct charge of the prisoner concerned.

3. The reports and information concerning prisoners shall be maintained with due regard to confidentiality on an individual basis, regularly kept up to date and only accessible to authorised persons.

The allocation and classification of prisoners

11. 1. In allocating prisoners to different institutions or regimes, due account shall be taken of their judicial and legal situation (untried or convicted prisoner, first offender or habitual offender, short sentence or long sentence), of the special requirements of their treatment, of their medical needs, their sex and age.

2. Males and females shall in principle be detained separately, although they may participate together in organised activities as part of an established treatment programme.

3. In principle, untried prisoners shall be detained separately from convicted prisoners unless they consent to being accommodated or involved together in organised activities beneficial to them.

4. Young prisoners shall be detained under conditions which as far as possible protect them from harmful influences and which take account of the needs peculiar to their age.

12. The purposes of classification or re-classification of prisoners shall be:

a. to separate from others those prisoners who, by reasons of their criminal records or their personality, are likely to benefit from that or who may exercise a bad influence; and

b. to assist in allocating prisoners to facilitate their treatment and social resettlement taking into account the management and security requirements.

13. So far as possible separate institutions or separate sections of an institution shall be used to facilitate the management of different treatment regimes or the allocation of specific categories of prisoners.


14. 1. Prisoners shall normally be lodged during the night in individual cells except in cases where it is considered that there are advantages in sharing accommodation with other prisoners.

2. Where accommodation is shared it shall be occupied by prisoners suitable to associate with others in those conditions. There shall be supervision by night, in keeping with the nature of the institution.

15. The accommodation provided for prisoners, and in particular all sleeping accommodation, shall meet the requirements of health and hygiene, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and especially the cubic content of air, a reasonable amount of space, lighting, heating and ventilation.

16. In all paces where prisoners are required to live or work:

a. the windows shall be large enough to enable the prisoners, inter alia, to read or work by natural light in normal conditions. They shall be so constructed that they can allow the entrance of fresh air except where there is an adequate air conditioning system. Moreover, the windows shall, with due regard to security requirements, present in their size, location and construction as normal an appearance as possible;

b. artificial light shall satisfy recognised technical standards.

17. The sanitary installations and arrangements for access shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in clean and decent conditions.

18. Adequate bathing and showering installations shall be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower, at a temperature suitable to the climate, as frequently as necessary for general hygiene according to season and geographical region, but at least once a week. Wherever possible there should be free access at all reasonable times.

19. All parts of an institution shall be properly maintained and kept clean at all times.

Personal hygiene

20. Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.

21. For reasons of health and in order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance and preserve their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be enabled to shave regularly.

Clothing and bedding

22. 1. Prisoners who are not allowed to wear their own clothing shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep them in good health. Such clothing shall in no manner be degrading or humiliating.

2. All clothing shall be clean and kept in proper condition. Underclothing shall be changed and washed as often as necessary for the maintenance of hygiene.

3. Whenever prisoners obtain permission to go outside the institution, they shall be allowed to wear their own clothing or other inconspicuous clothing.

23. On the admission of the prisoners to an institution, adequate arrangements shall be made to ensure that their personal clothing is kept in good condition and fit for use.

24. Every prisoner shall be provided with a separate bed and separate and appropriate bedding which shall be kept in good order and changed often enough to ensure its cleanliness.


25. 1. In accordance with the standards laid down by the health authorities, the administration shall provide the prisoners at the normal times with food which is suitably prepared and presented, and which satisfies in quality and quantity the standards of dietetics and modern hygiene and takes into account their age, health, the nature of their work and so far as possible, religious or cultural requirements.

2. Drinking water shall be available to every prisoner.

Medical services

26. 1. At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified general practitioner. The medical services should be organised in close relation with the general heath administration of the community or nation. They shall include a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental abnormality.

2. Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialised institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be suitable for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be staff of suitably trained officers.

3. The services of a qualified dental officer shall be available to every prisoner.

27. Prisoners may not be submitted to any experiments which may result in physical or moral injury.

28. 1. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be born in a hospital outside the institution. However, unless special arrangements are made, there shall in penal institutions be the necessary staff and accommodation for the confinement and post-natal care of pregnant women. If a child is born in prison, this fact shall not be mentioned in the birth certificate.

2. Where infants are allowed to remain in the institution with their mothers, special provision shall be made for a nursery staffed by qualified persons, where the infants shall be placed when they are not in the care of their mothers.

29. The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and the taking of all measures necessary for medical treatment; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might impede resettlement after release; and the determination of the fitness of every prisoner to work.

30. 1. The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and shall see, under the conditions and with a frequency consistent with hospital standards, all sick prisoners, all who report illness or injury and any prisoner to whom attention is specially directed.

2. The medical officer shall report to the director whenever it is considered that a prisoner's physical or mental health has been or will be adversely affected by continued imprisonment or by an condition of imprisonment.

31. 1. The medical officer or a competent authority shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon:

a. the quantity, quality, preparation and serving of food and water;

b. the hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and prisoners;

c. the sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution;

d. the suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners' clothing and bedding.

2. The director shall consider the reports and advice that the medical officer submits according to Rules 30, paragraph 2, and 31, paragraph 1, and, when in concurrence with the recommendations made, shall take within the director's competence or if the director does not concur with them, the director shall immediately submit a personal report and the advice of the medical officer to higher authority.

32. The medical services of the institution shall seek to detect and shall treat any physical or mental illnesses or defects which may impede a prisoner's resettlement after release. All necessary medical, surgical and psychiatric services including those available in the community shall be provided to the prisoner to that end.

Discipline and punishment

33. Discipline and order shall be maintained in the interests of safe custody, ordered community life and the treatment objectives of the institution.

34. 1. No prisoner shall be employed, in the service of the institution, any disciplinary capacity.

2. This rule shall not, however, impede the proper functioning of arrangement under which specified social, educational or sports activities or responsibilities are entrusted under supervision to prisoners who are formed into groups for the purposes of their participation in regime programmes.

35. The following shall be provided for and determined by the law or by the regulation of the competent authority:

a. conduct constituting a disciplinary offence;

b. the types and duration of punishment which may be imposed;

c. the authority competent to impose such punishment;

d. access to, and the authority of, the appellate process.

36. 1. No prisoner shall be punished except in accordance with the terms or such law or regulation, and never twice for the same act.

2. Reports of misconduct shall be presented promptly to the competent authority who shall decide on them without undue delay.

3. No prisoner shall be punished unless informed of the alleged offence and given a proper opportunity of presenting a defence.

4. Where necessary and practicable prisoners shall be allowed to make their defence through an interpreter.

37. Collective punishments, corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences.

38. 1. Punishment by disciplinary confinement and any other punishment which might have an adverse effect on the physical or mental health of the prisoner shall only be imposed if the medical officer, after examination, certifies in writing that the prisoner is fit to sustain it.

2. In no case may such punishment be contrary to, or depart from, the principles stated in Rule 37.

3. The medical officer shall visit daily prisoners undergoing such punishment and shall advise the director if the termination or alteration of the punishment is considered necessary on grounds of physical or mental health.

Instruments of restraint

39. The use of chains and irons shall be prohibited. Hand cuffs, restraint-jackets and other body restraints shall never be applied as a punishment. They shall not be used except in the following circumstances:

a. if necessary, as a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they shall be remove when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority unless that authority decides otherwise;

b. on medical grounds by direction and under the supervision of the medical officer;

c. by order of the director, if other methods of control fail, in order to protect a prisoner form self-injury, injury to others or to prevent serious damage to property; in such instances the director shall at once consult the medical officer and report the higher administrative authority.

40. The patters and manner of use of the instruments of restraint authorised in the preceding paragraph shall be decided by law or regulation. Such instruments must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.

Information to, and complaints by, prisoners

41. 1. Every prisoner shall on admission be provided with written information about the regulations governing the treatment of prisoners of the relevant category, the disciplinary requirements of the institution, the authorised methods of seeking information and making complaints, and all such other matters as are necessary to understand the rights and obligations of prisoners and to adapt to the life of the institution.

2. If a prisoner cannot understand the written information provided, this information shall be explained orally.

42. 1. Every prisoner shall have the opportunity every day of making requests or complaints to the director of the institution or the officer authorised to act in that capacity.

2. A prisoner shall have the opportunity to talk to, or to make requests or complaints to, an inspector of prisons or to any other duly constituted authority entitled to visit the prison without the director or other members of the staff being present. However, appeals against formal decisions may be restricted to the authorised procedures.

3. Every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, under confidential cover, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities.

4. Every request or complaint addressed or referred to a prison authority shall be promptly dealt with and replied to by this authority without undue delay.

Contact with the outside world

43. 1. Prisoners shall be allowed to communicate with their families and, subject to the needs of treatment, security and good order, persons or representatives of outside organisations and to receive visits from these persons as often as possible.

2. To encourage contact with the outside world there shall be a system of prison leave consistent with the treatment objectives in Part IV of these rules.

44. 1. Prisoners who are foreign nationals should be informed, without delay, of their right to request contact and be allowed reasonable facilities to communicate with the diplomatic or consular representative of the state to which they belong. The prison administration should co-operate fully with such representatives in the interests of foreign nationals in prison who may have special needs.

2. Prisoners who are nationals of states without diplomatic or consular representation in the country and refugees or stateless persons shall be allowed similar facilities to communicate with the diplomatic representative of the state which takes charge of their interests or national or international authority whose task it is to serve the interests of such persons.

45. Prisoners shall be allowed to keep themselves informed regularly of the news by reading newspapers, periodicals and other publications, by radio or television transmissions, by lectures or by any similar means as authorised or controlled by the administration. Special arrangements should be made to meet the needs of foreign nationals with linguistic difficulties.

Religious and moral assistance

46. So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his religious, spiritual and moral life by attending the services or meeting provided in the institution and having in his possession any necessary books or literature.

47. 1. If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed and approved. If the number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement should be on a full-time basis.

2. A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph 1 shall be allowed to hold regular services and activities and to pay pastoral visits in private to prisoners of his religion at proper times.

3. Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any prisoner. If any prisoner should object of a visit of an religious representative, the prisoner shall be allowed to refuse it.

Retention of prisoners' property

48. 1. All money, valuables, and other effects belonging to prisoners which under the regulations of the institution they are not allowed to retain shall on admission to the institution be placed in safe custody. An inventory thereof shall be signed by the prisoner. Steps shall be taken to keep them in good condition. If it has been found necessary to destroy any article, this shall be recorded and the prisoner informed.

2. On the release of the prisoner, all such articles and money shall be returned except insofar as there have been authorised withdrawals of money or the authorised sending of any such property of the institution, or it has been found necessary on hygienic grounds to destroyed any article. The prisoner shall sign a receipt for the articles and money returned.

3. As far as practicable, any money or effects received for a prisoner from outside shall be treated in the same way unless they are intended for and permitted for use during imprisonment.

4. If a prisoner brings in any medicines, the medical officer shall decide what use shall be made of them.

Notification of death, illness, transfer, etc.

49. 1. Upon the death or serious illness of or serious injury to a prisoner, or removal to an institution for the treatment of mental illness or abnormalities, the director shall at once inform the spouse, if the prisoner is married, or the nearest relative and shall in any event inform any other person previously designated by the prisoner.

2. A prisoner shall be informed at once of the death or serious illness of any near relative. In these cases and whenever circumstances allow, the prisoner should be authorised to visit this sick relative see the deceased either under escort alone.

3. All prisoners shall have the right to inform at once their families of imprisonment or transfer to another institution.

Removal of prisoners

50. 1. When prisoners are being removed to or from an institution, they shall be exposed to public view as little as possible, and proper safeguards shall be adopted to protect them from insult, curiosity and publicity in any form.

2. The transport of prisoners in conveyances with inadequate ventilation or light, or in any way which would subject them to unnecessary physical hardship or indignity shall be prohibited.

3. The transport of prisoners shall be carried out at the expense of the administration and in accordance with duty authorised regulations.



51. In view of the fundamental importance of the prison staffs to the proper management of the institutions and the pursuit of their organisational and treatment objectives, prison administrations shall give high priority to the to the fulfillment of the rules concerning personnel.

52. Prison staff shall be continually encouraged through training, consultative procedures and a positive management style to aspire to humane standards, higher efficiency and a committed approach to their duties.

53. The prison administration shall regard it as an important task continually to inform public opinion of the roles of the prison system and the work of the staff, so as to encourage public understanding of the importance of their contribution to society.

54. 1. The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection on recruitment or in subsequent appointments of all personnel. Special emphasis shall be given to their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the work.

2. Personnel shall normally be appointed on a permanent basis as professional prison staff and have civil service status with security of tenure subject only to good conduct, efficiency, good physical and mental health and an adequate standard of education. Salaries shall be adequate to attract and retain suitable men and women; employment benefits and conditions of service shall be favorable in view of the exacting nature of the work.

3. Whenever it is necessary to employ part-time staff, these criteria should apply to them as far as that is appropriate.

55. 1. On recruitment or after an appropriate period of practical experience, the personnel shall be given a course of training in their general and specific duties and be required to pass theoretical and practical tests unless their professional qualifications make that unnecessary.

2. During their career, all personnel shall maintain and improve their knowledge and professional capacity by attending courses of in-service training to be organised by the administration at suitable intervals.

3. Arrangements should be made for wider experience and training for personnel whose professional capacity would be improved by this.

4. The training of all personnel should include instruction in the requirements and application of the European Prison Rules and the European Convention on Human Rights.

56. All members of the personnel shall be expected at all times so to conduct themselves and perform their duties as to influence the prisoners for good by their example and to command their respect.

57. 1. So far as possible the personnel shall include a sufficient number of specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers, trade, physical education and sports instructors.

2. These and other specialist staff shall normally be employed on a permanent basis. This shall not preclude part- time or voluntary workers when that is appropriate and beneficial to the level of support and training they can provide.

58 1. The prison administration shall ensure that every institution is at all times in the full charge of the director, the deputy director or other authorised official.

2. The director of an institution should be adequately qualified for that post by character, administrative ability, suitable professional training and experience.

3. The director shall be appointed on a full-time basis and be available or accessible as required by the prison administration in its management instructions.

4. When two or more institutions are under the authority of one director, each shall be visited at frequent intervals. A responsible official shall be in charge of each of these institutions.

59. The administration shall introduce forms of organisations and management systems to facilitate communication between the different categories of staff in an institution with a view to ensuring co-operation between the various services, in particular, with respect to the treatment and re-socialisation of prisoners.

60. 1. The director, deputy, and the majority of the other personnel of the institution shall be able to speak the language of the greatest number of prisoners, or a language understood by the greatest number of them.

2. Whenever necessary and practicable the services of an interpreter shall be used.

61. 1. Arrangements shall be made to ensure at all times that a qualified and approved medical practitioner is able to attend without delay in cases of urgency.

2. In institutions not staffed by one or more full-time medical officers, a part-time medical officer or authorized staff of a health service shall visit regularly.

62. The appointment of staff in institutions or parts of institutions housing prisoners of the opposite sex is to be encouraged.

63. 1. The appointment of staff in institutions shall not use force against prisoners except in self defence or in cases of attempted escape or active or passive physical resistance to an order based on law or regulations. Staff who have recourse to force must use no more than no more than is strictly necessary and must report the incident immediately to the director of the institution.

2. Staff shall as appropriate be given special technical training to enable them to restrain aggressive prisoners.

3. Except in special circumstances, staff performing duties which bring them into direct contact with prisoners should not be armed. Furthermore, staff should in no circumstances be provided with arms unless they have been fully trained in their use.


Treatment objectives and regimes

64. Imprisonment is by the deprivation of liberty a punishment in itself. The conditions of imprisonment and the prison regimes shall not, therefore, except as incidental to justifiable segregation or the maintenance of discipline, aggravate the suffering inherent in this.

65. Every effort shall be made to ensure that the regimes of the institutions are designed and managed so as:

a. to ensure that the conditions of life are compatible with human dignity and acceptable standards in the community;

b. to minimize the detrimental effects of imprisonment and the differences between prison life and life at liberty which tend to diminish the self-respect or sense of personal responsibility of prisoners;

c. to sustain and strengthen those links with relatives and the outside community that will promote the best interests of prisoners and their families;

d. to provide opportunities for prisoners to develop skills and aptitudes that will improve their prospects of successful resettlement after release.

66. To these ends all the remedial, educational, moral, spiritual and other resources that are appropriate should be made available and utilized in accordance with the individual treatment needs of prisoners. Thus the regimes should include:

a. spiritual support and guidance and opportunities for relevant work, vocational guidance and training, education, physical education, the development of social skills, counselling, group and recreational activities;

b. arrangements to ensure that these activities are organised, so far as possible, to increase contacts with and opportunities within the outside community so as to enhance the prospects for social resettlement after release;

c. procedures for establishing and reviewing individual treatment and training programs for prisoners after full consultation among the relevant staff and with individual prisoners who should be involved in these as far as is practicable;

d. communications systems and a management style that will encourage appropriate and positive relationships between staff and prisoners that will improve the prospects for effective and supportive regimes

67. 1. Since the fulfillment of these objectives requires individualization of treatment and, for this purpose, a flexible system of allocation, prisoners should be placed in separate institutions or units where each can receive the appropriate treatment and training.

2. The type, size, organisation and capacity of these institutions or units should be determined essentially by the nature of the treatment to be provided.

3. It is necessary to ensure that prisoners are located with due regard to security and control but such measures should be the minimum compatible with safety and comprehend the special needs of the prisoner. Every effort should be made to place prisoners in institutions that are open in character or provide ample opportunities for contacts with the outside community. In the case of foreign nationals, links with people of their own nationality in the outside community are to be regarded as especially important.

68. As soon as possible after admission and after a study of the personality of each prisoner with a sentence of a suitable length, a program of treatment in a suitable institution shall be prepared in the light of the knowledge obtained about individual needs, capacities and dispositions, especially proximity to relatives.

69. 1. Within the regimes, prisoners shall be given the opportunity to participate in activities of the institution likely to develop their sense of responsibility, self-reliance and to stimulate interest in their own treatment.

2. Efforts should be made to develop methods of encouraging cooperation with and the participation of the prisoners in their treatment. To this end prisoners shall be encouraged to assume, within the limits specified in Rule 34, responsibilities in certain sectors of the institution's activity.

70. 1. The preparation of prisoners for release should begin as soon as possible after reception in a penal institution. Thus, the treatment of prisoners should emphasize not their exclusion from the community but their continuing part in it. Community agencies and social workers should, therefore, be enlisted wherever possible to assist the staff of the institution in the task of social rehabilitation of the prisoners particularly maintaining and improving the relationships with their families, with other persons and with social agencies. Steps should be taken to safeguard, to the maximum extent compatible with the law and the sentence, the rights relating to civil interests, social security rights and other social benefits of prisoners.

2. Treatment programmes should include provision for prison leave which should also be granted to the greatest extent possible on medical, educational, occupational, family and other social grounds.

3. Foreign nationals should not be excluded from arrangements for prison leave solely on account of their nationality. Furthermore, every effort should be made to enable them to participate in regime activities together so as to alleviate their feelings of isolation.


71. 1. Prison work should be seen as a positive element in treatment, training and institutional management.

2. Prisoners under sentence may be required to work, subject to their physical and mental fitness as determined by the medical officer.

3. Sufficient work of a useful nature, or if appropriate other purposeful activities shall be provided to keep prisoners actively employed for a normal working day.

4. So far as possible the work provided shall be such as will maintain or increase the prisoner's ability to earn a normal living after release.

5. Vocational training in useful trades shall be provided for prisoners able to profit thereby and especially for young prisoners.

6. Within the limits compatible with proper vocational selection and with the requirements of institutional administration and discipline, the prisoners shall be able to choose the type of employment in which they wish to participate.

72. 1. The organisation and methods of work in the institutions shall resemble as closely as possible those of similar work in the community so as to prepare prisoners for the conditions of normal occupational life. It should thus be relevant contemporary working standards and techniques and organised to function within modern management systems and production processes.

2. Although the pursuit of financial profit from industries in the institutions can be valuable in raising standards and improving the quality and relevance of training, the interests of the prisoners and of their treatment must not be subordinated to that purpose.

73. 1. Work for prisoners shall be assured by the prison administration:

a. either on its own premises, workshops and farms; or

b. in cooperation with private contractors inside or outside the institution in which case the full normal wages for such shall be paid by the persons to whom the labor is supplied, account being taken of the output of the prisoners.

74. 1. Safety and health precautions for prisoners shall be similar to those that apply to workers outside.

2. Provision shall be made to indemnify prisoners against industrial injury, including occupational disease, on terms not less favorable than those extended by law to workers outside.

75. 1. The maximum daily and weekly working hours of the prisoners shall be fixed in conformity with local rules or custom in regard to the employment of free workmen.

2. Prisoners should have at least one rest-day a week and sufficient time for education and other activities required as part of their treatment and training for social resettlement.

76. 1. There shall be a system of equitable remuneration of the work of prisoners.

2. Under the system prisoners shall be allowed to spend at least a part of their earnings on approved articles for their own use and to allocate a part of their earnings to their family or for other approved purposes.

3. The system may also provide that a part of the earnings be set aside by the administration so as to constitute a savings fund to be handed over to the prisoner on release.


77. A comprehensive education programme shall be arranged in every institution to provide opportunities for all prisoners to pursue at least some of their individual needs and aspirations. Such programmes should have as their objectives the improvement of the prospects for successful social resettlement, the morale and attitudes of prisoners and their self-respect.

78. Education should be regarded as a regime activity that attracts the same status and basic remuneration within the regime of work, provided that it takes place in normal working hours and is part of an authorised individual treatment programme.

79. Special attention should be given by prison administrations to the education of young prisoners, those of foreign origin or with particular cultural or ethnic needs.

80. Specific programs of remedial education should be arranged for prisoners with special problems such as illiteracy or innumeracy.

81. So far as practicable, the education of prisoners shall:

a. be integrated with the educational system of the country so that after their release they may continue their education without difficulty;

b. take place in outside educational institutions.

82. Every institution shall have a library for the use of all categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with a wide range of both recreational and instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of it. Wherever possible the prison library should be organised in cooperation with community library services.

Physical education, exercise, sport and recreation

83. The prison regimes shall recognise the importance to physical and mental health of properly organised activities to ensure physical fitness, adequate exercise and recreational opportunities.

84. Thus a properly organised programme of physical education, sport and other recreational activity should be arranged within the framework and objectives of the treatment and training regime. To this end space, installations and equipment should be provided.

85. Prison administration should ensure that prisoners who participate in these programmes are physically fit to do so. Special arrangements should be made, under medical direction, for remedial physical education and therapy for those prisoners who need it.

86. Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work, or located in an open institution, shall be allowed, if the weather permits, at least one hour of walking or suitable exercise in the open air daily, as far as possible, sheltered from inclement weather.

Pre-release preparation

87. All prisoners should have the benefit of arrangements designed to assist them in returning to society, family life and employment after release. Procedures and special courses should be devised to this end.

88. In the case of those prisoners with longer sentences, steps should be taken to ensure a gradual return to life in society. This aim may be achieved, in particular, by a pre-release regime organized in the same institution or in another appropriate institution, or by conditional release under some kind of supervision combined with effective social support.

89. 1. Prison administrations should work closely with the social services and agencies that assist released prisoners to re-establish themselves in society, in particular with regard to family life and employment.

2. Steps must be taken to ensure that on release prisoners are provided, as necessary, with appropriate documents and identification papers, and assisted in finding suitable homes and work to go to. They should also be provided with immediate means of subsistence, be suitable and adequately clothed having regard to the climate and season, and have sufficient means to reach their destination.

3. The approved representatives of the social agencies or services should be afforded all necessary access to the institution and to prisoners with a view to making a full contribution to the preparation for release and after-care programme of the prisoner.


Additional rules for special categories

90. Prison administrations should be guided by the provisions of the rules as a whole so far as they can appropriately and in practice be applied for the benefit of those special categories of prisoners for which additional rules are provided hereafter.

Untried prisoners

91. Without prejudice to legal rules for the protection of individual liberty of prescribing the procedure to be observed in respect of untried prisoners, these prisoners, who are presumed to be innocent until they are found guilty, shall be afforded the benefits that may derive from Rule 90 and treated without restrictions other than those necessary for the penal procedure and the security of the institution.

92. 1. Untried prisoners shall be allowed to inform their families of their detention immediately and given all reasonable facilities for communication with family and friends and persons with whom it is in their legitimate interest to enter into contact.

2. They shall also be allowed to receive visits from them under humane conditions subject only to such restrictions and supervision as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and of the security and good order of the institution.

3. If an untried prisoner does not wish to inform any of these persons, the prison administration should not do so on its own initiative unless there are good overriding reasons as, for instance, the age, state of mind or any other incapacity of the prisoner.

93. Untried prisoners shall be entitled, as soon as imprisoned, to choose a legal representative, or shall be allowed to apply for free legal aid where such aid is available and to receive visits from that legal adviser with a view to their defence and to prepare and hand to the legal adviser, and to receive, confidential instructions. On request, they shall be given all necessary facilities for this purpose. In particular, they shall be given the free assistance of an interpreter for all essential contacts with the administration and for their defence. Interviews between prisoners and their legal advisers may be within sight but not within hearing, either direct or indirect, of the police or institution staff. The allocation of untried prisoners shall be in conformity with the provisions of Rule 11, paragraph 3.

94. Except where there are circumstances that make it undesirable, untried prisoners shall be given the opportunity of having separate rooms.

95. 1. Untried prisoners shall be given the opportunity of wearing their own clothing if it is clean and suitable.

2. Prisoners who do not avail themselves of this opportunity, shall be supplied with suitable dress.

3. If they have no suitable clothing of their own, untried prisoners shall be provided with civilian clothing in good condition in which to appear in court or on authorised outings.

96. Untried prisoners shall, whenever possible, be offered the opportunity to work but shall not be required to work. Those who choose to work shall be paid as other prisoners. If educational or trade training is available, untried prisoners shall be encouraged to avail themselves of these opportunities.

97. Untried prisoners shall be allowed to procure at their own expense or at the expense of a third party such books, newspapers, writing materials and other means of occupation as are compatible with the interests of the administration of justice and the security and good order of the institution.

98. Untried prisoners shall be given the opportunity of being visited and treated by their own doctor or dentist if there is reasonable ground for the application. Reasons should be given if the application is refused. Such costs as are incurred shall not be the responsibility of the prison administration.

Civil prisoners

99. In countries where the law permits imprisonment by order of a court under any non-criminal process, persons so imprisoned shall not be subjected to any greater restriction or severity than is necessary to ensure safe custody and good order. Their treatment shall not be less favorable than that of untried prisoners, with the reservation, however, that they may be required to work.

Insane and mentally abnormal prisoners

100. 1. Persons who are found to be insane should not be detained in prisons and arrangements shall be made to remove them to appropriate establishments for the mentally ill as soon as possible.

2. Specialized institutions or sections under medical management should be available for the observation and treatment of prisoners suffering gravely from other mental disease or abnormality.

3. The medical or psychiatric service of the penal institutions shall provide for the psychiatric treatment of all prisoners who are in need of such treatment.

4. Action should be taken, by arrangement with the appropriate community agencies, to ensure where necessary the continuation of psychiatric treatment after release and the provision of social psychiatric after-care.



Revised European version

of the Standard Minimum Rules

for the Treatment of Prisoners


There is now a long and creditable history of international co-operation in the fields of penal policy and prison affairs. In the Council of Europe, the main bodies charged with direct responsibilities in these matters are the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) and the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs (PC-R-CP). Within the framework of the Statute of the Council of Europe and the authority of the Committee of Ministers, these two committees provide the forum for international co-operation in Europe and the professional and technical expertise with which to process their work. The formal and moral authority for the administration of penal establishments has resided primarily in the European Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the European Convention on Human Rights. The new European Prison Rules have been enacted to provide a modern and progressive formulation for the benefit of prison administration and treatment for the foreseeable future.

The status and influence of the rules

Whilst the rules have no binding legal status in international law, they have been widely recognised as constituting a virtual code of practice in prison administration and treatment. Furthermore, the domestic legal status of the rules, although it varies from country to country, is such that in one form or another they have an important influence on the moral and practical standards that govern prison administration. Over the period, now more than half a century, during which the rules have been internationally valid, they have directly, or indirectly, encouraged higher standards and served to ensure the minimum conditions of humanity and decency in the prison systems. Although, therefore, the formal status of the rules is that of guidance to prison administrations, they impose powerful moral and political obligations on those member states that have accepted them. In the new formulation, one of the principal objects has been to give more emphasis to the duty of prison administrations to comply with the rules and to provide a basis of greater influence and authority for the rules themselves, reinforced by national inspection and the ultimate aspirations of the Council of Europe through its consultative processes.

Contemporary approaches to penal problems

Rising concern with social and moral problems associated with the issues of public order, human values and the often conflicting needs of community interests and individual rights has led to a re-assessment of the roles of imprisonment. This has concerned both the concept of imprisonment as an instrument of social constraint and the functions of prisons within the spectrum of the social agencies. A major change in the approach to treatment has been the move away from regimes aimed specifically at influencing the attitudes and behaviour of prisoners to models based on encouraging the development of social skills and personal resources that will improve the prospects for successful re-socialization. On the whole, but with due regard to the nature and seriousness of criminal offences, there has also been a major shift from the use of imprisonment towards non-custodial remedies and the imposition of shorter sentences. This change of emphasis has significantly restrained the level of prison populations. However, continued pressure of population in the prisons has resulted from increasingly serious and conspicuous criminality in the community and the inevitable response of the legal authorities to public anxiety. This has led to major operational problems in the larger prison systems and, therefore, a greater concern with matters such as the efficacy of treatment, physical and moral standards in the prisons, management efficiency and the proper support for and concern with the professional and personal aspirations of staff.

At the level of prison management, recent decades have been characterised by the parallel phenomena of the liberalisation and sophistication of prison conditions and treatment and the increasing difficulties of operational management. Both processes have been stimulated or exacerbated by the changing nature of the prison populations and the enlargement of public interest and of searching academic enquiry into penal problems. The Council of Europe has devoted its energy and considerable resources to examining these problems and offering guidance in the form of resolutions and recommendations. They are listed in Chapter III to this volume in order to stress their importance for possible adaptation to national regulations.

The European Prison Rules (1987)

In the new European Prison Rules (Recommendation No. R (87) 3) there has been a shift in the priorities and emphases that, whilst in no way diminishing the traditional values that have inspired the rules, recognises the broad changes of mood and practice that have been noted in this introduction.

Most important has been the elevation to the highest priority of the six rules of basic principle which are the bedrock of the whole philosophy and moral code on which the rules rest. These basic principles embody the criteria of humanity, respect for human dignity, social purpose and managerial performance which comprise a coherent and effective basis for the administration of modern prison systems. They endow those systems with the essential attributes of and ethical social organisation that are important to the welfare of prisoners, the status of staff and the expectations of civilised society in contemporary circumstances.

The new rules will be seen to have given special emphasis to re-socialisation as set out in Rule 3 and to the individualisation of treatment and, therefore, the differentiation of regimes to

facilitate this. Also recognised is the importance of better management which, given the current and foreseen pressure on resources, is crucial to maintaining and improving the efficiency and standards of administration as well as the optimisation of the benefits of the more versatile and demanding regimes to be found in contemporary prison systems. Prison work, academic and social education and physical education have been acknowledged as constituting the main core activities in any well-developed, positive treatment regime. The need, in terms of re-socialisation, to extend the training and experience inherent in these regime activates into the community wherever possible has also been given appropriate emphasis. So as to increase the priority and impact of these important ingredients in the pattern of prison treatment envisaged by the new rules, they have been given more definition and an enhanced presentational context. The same is true in regard to the status and roles of prison personnel which are seen as crucial to the proper management of prisons and the considerable professional demands of regimes devoted to the objectives of re-socialisation. Overall, the objective has been to raise the thresholds of the existing standards and, by strengthening the status of the rules themselves, to encourage further improvements in the physical conditions in prisons and the quality of management and treatment.

At the technical level, the rules have been arranged to facilitate reference, the application of the rules in practice and the use of the rules in the training of personnel. This objective has been pursued by the adoption of a logical and orderly arrangement of the rules which, it is intended, will clarify and sharpen their purpose. Thus, the fundamental and immutable rules of general principle are followed by sections devoted to the management of prison systems, personnel, treatment objectives and regimes and the additional rules that concern the treatment and needs of special categories of prisoners.

Naturally, it is to be expected, as is already the case with many of the standards enshrined in the rules, that prison administrations will operate and provide resources at levels in advance of those required by the rules. More importantly, it is expected that, in cases where there are shortfalls in application, every effort will be made to remedy the problems that inhibit the satisfaction of the requirements of the rules. In areas where there are persistent difficulties, prison administrations may have recourse to the advice and support available within the forums of the Council of Europe. This explanatory memorandum is intended to be a practical working document to be read with the rules and to provide greater depth in interpretation than would be possible or desirable in the actual wording of the rules themselves. It is also intended to promote the understanding of the rules and interest in their influence and practicability in ways that will stimulate further positive improvements in prison treatment and management. The explanatory memorandum can also offer some help to those administrations that wish to establish local standards with more specific scales than would be feasible at the international level. There are thus brief general comments of a broad philosophical nature related to each section of the rules and specific comments of more practical consequence on each of the rules as may be appropriate and helpful.

The re-assessment of penal philosophy and prison treatment and administration referred to at the outset of this introduction has been most fruitful when it has been carried out in the context of human values and social criteria. It has also been focused on the questions of success and failure in the prison services themselves or of imprisonment as a rehabilitative function. This approach has had some unfortunate consequences for it is difficult to evaluate such matters in these terms in ways that adequately recognise the complexity of the problem, acknowledge the proper attribution of social responsibility and avoid damaging implications for policy and prison personnel. In that context the new rules represent a reiteration by the Council of Europe of the traditional values of humanity and the positive caring roles of the prison services aiming at re-socialisation wherever possible. All of these functions are more appropriately assessed by reference to moral standard and the quality of performance rather than by reference to objective data designed to measure success or failure in relatively simplistic terms. The rules offer the framework and standards for this. As such, they provide, by emphasis on the human dimensions, better management, more clearly defined objectives, more credible inspection and international co-operation, a medium for improvement and a new impetus for future progress of prison administration and treatment in Europe.



The main points of the preambular paragraphs of the new European Prison Rules have been referred to in general terms in the introduction to this explanatory memorandum. They have been summarised with more precision in the preamble of the new version of the rules so as to associate closely with the rules themselves the important purposes and principles that have inspired the European reformulation.

The purposes of the rules have thus been framed so as to embrace the needs and aspirations of prison administrations, prisoners and prison personnel in a coherent approach to management and treatment that is positive, realistic and contemporary. Whilst the rules have been strengthened in terms of the renewed emphasis given to established and improving standards, provisions have also been introduced so as to enhance the authority of the rules and to encourage the systematic inspection of prison conditions and practices using the rules as the basic criteria for that important function. Naturally, the precise definitions of these criteria in measurable terms will vary from country to country according to climatic and other local conditions and established practices. It would not be feasible, or even appropriate, to try to specify the standards in these terms in an international document. However, it would be conducive to good prison administration and development policy, as well as facilitating inspection, for specifications in regard to the physical conditions of imprisonment to be drawn up at national level in accordance with the requirements of the rules. In practice, prison administrations in Europe usually make such provision well above the minimum standards of the rules and in no circumstances should new construction or arrangements fall below them. It is assumed that, wherever existing conditions fall below the level of the provision in the rules, policy and practice will be directed to rectifying this.

The reference in the preamble to the capacity of the Council of Europe to give advice and support to prison administrations in regard to difficulty in meeting the requirements of the rules, or in regard to practical problems, is meant to encourage co-operation between the European prison services within the framework of the Council's activities. In the context of the overall programmes of the European Committee on Crime Problems, there is scope to examine a wide range of general problems and to consider the most fruitful approaches to future development. More specific to prison administrations, the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs has functions which enable it to offer advice and to work closely with any prison administration that wishes to avail itself of the committee. The exchange of information on penal matters, which is operated by the Directorate of Legal Affairs, provides a medium for the speedy processing of specific questions for which prison administrations may wish to draw on the experience of other European systems in regard to a particular field of difficulty or of special topical interest. In extending the understanding of the European Prison Rules to prison personnel and the general public, and in enhancing the application of the rules in practice, such co-operation can play a valuable role.

In considering the application of the rules, whether in terms of policy, practice, training or inspection, the four basic purposes set out at the beginning of the preamble should always be kept in mind.


The basic principles

The six rules in Part I are the most important, being fundamental to the philosophy and management of any prison system that is based on those principles of humanity, morality, justice and respect for human dignity that are essential to a modern civilised society. In no circumstances should any departure from these rules, or compromise in interpreting them, be accepted. They are intended to endow all the other rules with overriding standards to which all prison administrations that adopt the European Prison Rules will subscribe without reservation.

1. The numbers of the paragraphs correspond to those of the rules under examination. This rule has been strengthened by the addition of the reference to conformity with the rules. That not only underlines the validity of the rules in terms of human dignity, but establishes the authority and priority of the rules in all of those aspects of prison administration to which they are directed.

2. The provisions of this rule are concerned with the fundamental freedoms of individuals and the ethos of free societies. In practice it is recognised that the determination of genuine religious belief or moral precepts may sometimes give rise to difficulty. Such cases can only be satisfactorily resolved in the light of local conditions and contemporary thought. There will also be circumstances in which some measures of positive discrimination in favour of individuals or a group may be necessary. In those cases every effort should be made to deal with the people concerned, and others who may be affected, with sensitivity and common sense. The basic criterion of the rule, which seeks to respect individuals and their beliefs, should govern the spirit in which such special arrangements are made. They should never be detrimental to other individuals or groups.

3. The reference to treatment in this rule is a generalised concept. It is used to indicate, in the broadest sense, all those measures (work, social training, education, vocational training, physical education and preparation for release, etc.) employed to maintain or recover the physical and mental health of prisoners, their social re-integration and the general conditions of their imprisonment. Obviously, the extent to which this approach can be applied in practice will vary according to the opportunities provided by the resources of the establishments, the length of sentences and the custodial environment. But it is important to establish, as this rule does, a brief general statement to guide prison administrations in their work and to provide a broad yardstick against which to test provision and performance. The

rules concerned with treatment objectives and regimes enlarge on this general statement of principle.

4. The value of regular inspection has been emphasised by the priority given to this as one of the basic principles. All prison administrations should ensure that among the criteria that are employed should be the requirements of the rules. The arrangements for and the status of the inspection process will vary from country to country. The effectiveness and credibility of the inspection services will be enhanced by the degree of independence from the prison administration that they enjoy and the regular publication of the results of their work.

5. The high importance of this rule is self-evident. Its priority has been recognised by including it as one of the basic principles in the new rules.

6. This is a new rule and fundamental to the effective application of the rules in practice. In particular, the availability of the rules is important to staff in improving their perception of their roles and their knowledge of the basic criteria of prison administration as defined in the rules.


The management of prison systems

Reception and registration

In the management of prison establishments the reception arrangements are very important in establishing the moral climate and the right balance between formal efficiency and a supportive attitude towards people who are, inevitably, subject to anxiety. The physical environment and the essential procedures that are carried out at reception should, so far as possible, be devised and operated with this basic precept in mind. A smooth, humane and tolerably comfortable process at the point of entry to a penal establishment can contribute much to the morale and attitude of the individuals concerned, prisoners and staff. Prisoners should be encouraged to feel that the procedures are relevant and individualised for the purpose of easing the problems that will be experienced in prison and for facilitating their personal needs and eventual resettlement. For staff, the procedures should be seen as necessary for the efficient and proper administration of the establishment and as contributory to their roles in regard to the management and treatment of prisoners. Reference will be made later to the conceptual need to see the reception process as but the first stage in the whole programme of preparation for release.

7 and 8. It is apparent that, in practice, the rules concerning reception and registration have not caused any particular difficulty. In reformulating Rule 7, it has, nevertheless, been re-worded to take account of the increasing use of computers which may be expected to continue. There is thus no longer a requirement that a register should be kept. The scope and precise nature of the data that should be recorded and stored will depend largely on the management system of a particular administration and the technology employed to handle such data. The range of information recorded will, therefore, vary but should include that specified in Rule 8. The use of computer-based data makes it important to ensure that there is adequate protection for the privacy and security of personal information in the system.

The adequate and appropriate recording of details pertaining to the reception of prisoners into custody is an important safeguard for individual rights and for protection against arbitrary constraint. It is also necessary for the proper investigation of any complaints that may arise at or after the event.

9. The natural stress that people experience on arrival in a penal establishment is often exacerbated by personal problems in regard to their families, friends or work which may well be, or are thought by the prisoner to be, urgent. A positive and helpful attitude to these problems at the point in time when they seem to be most acute is both right and valuable. Unfortunately, the operational circumstances that obtain at reception, often in large numbers from the courts in remand prisons, can make this a problem of exceptional practical difficulty especially in major establishments. However, common humanity and the wider considerations of management make it necessary to devote all possible resources to resolving the problem. Experienced staff, adequate supervision and access when necessary to specialist advice are of basic importance. Attention should also be paid to consideration of privacy and opportunities provided for early contact with relatives or friends, by telephone where possible, or correspondence. Written information about the resources for dealing with matters of a personal nature can be useful in encouraging prisoners to face up to their own problems and in looking to the appropriate staff for support.

10. The requirements of Rule 10 are aimed at the whole process of preparing prisoners for release and eventual re-socialisation. The level at which this can be done will obviously depend on a number of factors. These are concerned with the length of sentences, the resources available for preparing individual programmes and the capacity of the administrative system to record, update and process the essential data. The extent to which the director can be personally involved in the choice and approval of such programmes will depend on circumstances. Nevertheless, the director should always be informed and should exercise overall control of this important aspect of prison administration and treatment. Accessibility to the information concerning prisoners' personal programmes should normally be restricted only to staff or other persons duly authorised by an appropriate authority such as the prison administration or the courts.

It will be seen that in the new version of this rule reference has been made to the personnel in direct charge of prisoners. This is so as to emphasise the desirability of developing to the fullest extent possible the involvement of all staff who have responsibility for the management and treatment of prisoners. Reference to psychiatric reports has been omitted because the extent to which this is normally necessary does not seem to justify such an emphasis. In any case, referral to a psychiatrist would normally be the responsibility of the medical officer whose report is required.

The allocation and classification of prisoners

The basic rationale of modern penal treatments in custodial establishments depends for its effectiveness on the differentiation of the institutions, the development of a range of regimes and a valid process of classification and allocation of prisoners to those that are most appropriate to their individual needs. It is important, therefore, that, in distributing the resources available to prison systems, in establishing the treatment regimes and training staff to make the most effective contribution to them, prison administrations should support the overall strategy with coherent and systematic criteria and the necessary administrative machinery to carry it out. The rules, in this section, represent a simplified framework of such criteria and an indication of the main categories for which prison administrations will normally expect to make special or separate arrangements for accommodation or treatment.

11. The first of the principles with which this rule is concerned is that in 11.1 which establishes the main criteria which must normally be satisfied in allocating prisoners to an appropriate regime. The reference to the special requirements of their treatment should be taken to include not only training needs but also the other factors referred to in Rule 12.

The experience of recent years has tended to modify the views previously held about the need to segregate certain categories of prisoners. Modern penal philosophy no longer demands the rigid separation of the young from the old, of men from women or the convicted from the unconvicted. These rules have, therefore, been relaxed to acknowledge that in some circumstances there may be mutual benefits, or at least no adverse results, from allowing some contacts between these categories of prisoners. Thus, there may be some value to younger prisoners, in certain circumstances, in the stability that can result from participation in regime activities with older prisoners. The same may apply in regard to participation by men and women in the same treatment programme. Similarly, it may be helpful to untried prisoners, for whom work or other regime experience may be unavailable or limited, to have the opportunity to enjoy that which is available to sentenced categories of prisoners.

12. In most prison systems the basic objective of allocating prisoners to an establishment near to their homes and appropriate to their treatment needs will be inhibited in some cases by the possibility of potentially dangerous or disruptive behaviour. This rule has been reformulated to give it a more positive emphasis. It also introduces the notion of reclassification so as to underline the need to keep specially under review the cases of those prisoners whose treatment and allocation has been influenced adversely by such considerations. It is desirable that they should not be a permanent disadvantage as a result of an initial classification and that they should also be encouraged to believe that they can improve their situation. Ideally, categorisation and allocation should depend on observed behaviour rather than predictive judgment. Inevitably, there will sometimes be some very difficult cases in which prison administrations have a clear responsibility, for the public interest and staff safety, which may lead them to err on the side of caution even it that is ostensibly opposed to the prisoners' own welfare. That is the essential argument for systematic review in such cases and, as necessary, reference to higher authority.

13. It is self-evident that the best results in regime treatments will come from accommodation and resources specially designed and dedicated to the objectives of such treatment. The operational realities frequently deprive prison administration of this luxury. The rule is important in underlining the approach on which this philosophy of treatment should rely.


The rules are rightly concerned with the minimum basic standards that will provide humane and decent physical conditions of life for those who are imprisoned. Two broad generalisations need to be stated. The first is that this is an area of some difficulty for prison administration in systems where there is a surfeit of old, and perhaps decayed, accommodation and/or there is a serious problem of rising prison populations, consequent overcrowding and, therefore, excess pressure on accommodation and basic services. The second is concerned with the impact of the accommodation on the prison environment and the implication of that for the working roles of staff, the treatment of prisoners, management and morale. There is now an increasing recognition of these factors. It is, nevertheless, still necessary to encourage measures to improve the environment of the older prisons by the refurbishment of accommodation and to take full account of these factors in planning new buildings. In both perspectives, most European prison administrations have devoted energy and resources to this important aspect of their responsibilities. So far as these rules are concerned, local specifications and management practice need definition in order that they may be fully satisfied. In dealing with the accommodation problem at those levels, the wider considerations in regard to managerial requirements, the human dimensions of regime design and activity and the broad social factors should be borne in mind. Accommodation should be adequate in terms of the standards set by the rules, be designed and exploited to create an environment that will encourage positive attitudes in staff and prisoners towards the treatment objectives of re-socialisation, be operationally effective for management and safe custody and be acceptable in social terms.

These are, inevitably, long-term approaches; the requirements of the rules are of a more immediate and routine character. Both should be seen as complementary in a humane and progressive concept of policy for accommodation which is an important element in the principles that underlie Rule 1.

14. It has already been acknowledged that historical reasons and operational reality pose inevitable problems in regard to the requirements of this rule. There has also been some reference to the issues that arise from cell-sharing. It is undeniable that individual prisoners should, if at all possible, be lodged in single cells if that is their wish. Equally, experience has shown that some prisoners prefer to share cellular accommodation and that some others, who may be suffering from stress, or have been identified as potential suicide risks, could benefit from this. It is an issue that all prison administrations should keep under continuous review both as a matter of policy and in regard to individual allocations at the operational level. The reference in Rule 14 to advantages in shared accommodation is meant to apply also to the use of premises designed or adapted to accommodate two or more prisoners in a cell or room for reasons of treatment or management. In cases where cell-sharing occurs from necessity and in others where it is arranged as a result of managerial decisions, special care should be taken to ensure that appropriate supervision is available and that adequate information is made available to those concerned. Special night communications systems are desirable in some situations. Appropriate records should be kept in regard to enforced and arranged cell-sharing to enable this aspect of prison management to be kept under regular and adequate review at administrative and operational levels.

15. As already stated, it is desirable that standard specifications should be drawn up at national level to meet the requirements of this rule according to local circumstances and practice.

16. This is another rule for which local specifications are desirable. It has ben modified to make it more realistic in practice and to acknowledge the fact that modern developments include the installation of air-conditioning systems in new accommodation.

17. This is an important rule which has been inhibited by the inadequacy of sanitary installations in much of the old and overcrowded accommodation in the prisons. It should be seen as of fundamental importance to Rule 1 and its satisfaction should have

high priority in the development planning of all prison administrations that are burdened with this problem.

18. The same considerations apply to this rule as have been expressed in regard to Rule 17. The reference to free access at all reasonable times in the reformulation has been included to recognise a developing trend towards one of those aspects of prison life in which it is possible to encourage personal responsibility and choice with advantage to treatment and training.

19. This rule, although generally accepted as a basic responsibility for prison management and high in routine priority, has given rise to problems in certain circumstances. These are related to questions of maintenance resources, the individual responsibility of prisoners for their cells and protest demonstrations. The restriction of the previous rule to prisoner accommodation has been removed to recognise that the general interest and morale of a prison establishment relies also on the need to keep other parts of the buildings in good and clean condition. The staff have as much right to expect that of their working and recreational accommodation as have the prisoners. The general interest will be served by the rigid application of this rule in all parts of the prison.

Personal hygiene

The encouragement of prisoners' personal hygiene through the provision of adequate arrangements and resources should be a high priority and seen as an essential ingredient in the treatment and training ethos.

20 and 21. The essential toilet articles provided under these rules should be free of charge and of a range and quality that is consistent with local practice. Wherever possible, hair-dressing services should be provided and prisoners should have the opportunity to supplement the toilet articles by purchasing those of their choice. Water for washing should, wherever possible, be available hot and cold.

Clothing and bedding

The quality and cleanliness of clothing and bedding is of prime importance to the dignity and self-respect of all people. In the circumstances of imprisonment it is no less important. Indeed, it is an aspect of prison life that can become disproportionate in the minds of those for whom, inevitably, the range of personal choice is diminished, and the unfamiliarity and standardised quality of institutional clothing may exacerbate their feelings of resentment. Increasingly, there is a trend towards allowing certain categories of prisoners, for example women, remand and even some convicted males in certain locations, to wear their own clothes. This is seen as valuable in the context of modern approaches to re-socialisation that see normality and the need to sustain the human personality as of cardinal importance to that objective. As long as this is not possible, for reasons of cost, control of hygiene, prison administrations should ensure the satisfactory quality and cleanliness of issued clothing and bedding and efficient and regular procedures for changing.

22. Whether or not the clothing worn by prisoners is institutional or personal it is necessary that managements should give the issue, maintenance, laundering and care of clothing, priority in the prison routines. It is particularly important that prisoners who work outside or are in public view for any other reason, such as attendance at outside educational establishments or appearances in court should not be clothed in recognisable prison dress.

Wherever possible, prisoners should be allowed to wear suitable civilian clothing for visits: in any case, staff should ensure that clean and well-maintained clothing is worn for visits. The good appearance of prisoners is important to them and to the visitors. It is imperative that when outside the prison for leave, work or education they should be suitably and neatly dressed. When working inside the prison, suitable clothing should be provided where necessary having regard to safety and the nature of the work being carried out.

23. This rule refers to the clothing that prisoners are wearing or bring into prison with them. At reception it should be examined, recorded and, as necessary, washed or cleaned before re-issue or storage. An adequate routine procedure is necessary to ensure that stored personal clothing is maintained in a condition fit for re-issue at any time and on discharge.

24. The type of bed and bedding provided for prisoners will vary according to climate and normal local standards. The quality, cleanliness and maintenance of bedding is of equal priority to that of clothing. Beds and bedding should be safe and regularly inspected as a matter of routine management.


The importance of food to good general health and the morale of prisoners cannot be overstressed. Food and water are basic to life itself and, inevitably, are a focus of special interest to people who are bound to the monotony of institutional routines by virtue of imprisonment. The quality of food, its serving and presentation can be a major factor in the assessment that people in custody make of the level of care and responsibility exhibited by management towards them. It is thus important in terms of their general attitude to the whole process of their treatment and training. Conversely, poor food, badly served can be a cause of serious discontent. Unfortunately, the conditions in many overcrowded prisons or prisons with out-of-date premises and culinary equipment make it difficult to organise the serving and distribution of food on a satisfactory basis. As one of the fundamental services in institutional management, the catering resources demand special attention and should aim to provide prisoners with a diet and circumstances in which to take their meals as near as possible to average standards in communal catering outside.

The directors of all prisons should themselves give particular attention to this aspect of their responsibilities for prison management and satisfy themselves that the catering services are compatible with health standards and are of benefit to the overall climate of life in the institutions.

Modern kitchen management systems and equipment are making it increasingly possible to satisfy the needs of those who require special diets for health, cultural or religious reasons or who may require meals at short notice at unusual times. Prison administrations should endeavour to keep abreast of such developments in the outside community and ensure that through recruitment, training and inspection the prison staff responsible for catering are sufficiently competent to maintain the required standards.

25. In order to satisfy the requirements of this rule it will be necessary to arrange for an appropriate liaison with the health authorities and for the medical staff of the institutions to be consulted by local management on a regular basis.

Medical Services

The medical services in prison establishments should be available and organised to standards comparable in quality to those in the community at large. They are particularly important in the prison setting as reflecting, in a conspicuous way, the standards of humanity and care that characterise the nature of the prison system itself. The professional quality and the managerial efficiency of these services should be maintained at a high level by appropriate recruitment criteria, development, training and regular review by the administrative authorities who are not normally, or appropriately, directly involved in much of the day-to-day work of the medical services.

It is important also, in order to enhance the medical services, to devote appropriate training resources to the medical personnel in regard to their clinical and nursing roles. The medical officer should assume a direct responsibility for encouraging and supervising the training of medical personnel as well as their routine work in prison hospitals and clinics. Advantage should also be taken of the available medical resources in the community so as to extend the scope of the specialised resources to prisoners and in support of the overall treatment approach of closer integration with external agencies.

Prison medical officers have a difficult dual responsibility. They are clearly responsible to the governor for the adequate fulfillment of their duties. They also have a direct duty towards prisoners who are their patients, and for the health of prisoners in general. It is not always easy to reconcile these roles. Apart from that, prison medical services are the special focus of contentious philosophical views about the nature of the relationships between medical staff, institutional management and prisoners, as patients in what is seen as a coercive environment. These arguments extend to the question of compulsory or voluntary treatment and the right of choice in regard to a doctor. It is not possible to assert a universally acceptable response to those complicated and sometimes emotive issues. Each society, and the prison system within it, must decide on its own approach. However, certain principles are immutable and should be regarded as paramount. These are that the medical officers and their staff have a primary responsibility for the medical care of the prisoners in their charge; that medical treatment and decisions should be made on professional advice and solely in the interests of the health and well-being of the patients. For prison management and administration, any executive decision that overrides or conflicts with a medical view should be reported to a higher authority and be susceptible to review.

26. This is the basic rule in regard to the provision of medical services in penal institutions. The basis on which these services are organised will vary according to the nature and organisation of the national health services, the scale and needs of particular institutions. The essential approach of this rule is that of compatibility between the institutional and community health services, whether in regard to physical resources and supplies, medical staff or the range of clinical treatment that is to be available. This general approach should be the subject of regular review by the administration and periodic inspection to ensure its quality and effectiveness.

27. In its general purport, this rule, which is clearly underpinned by the rules of general principle and, ultimately, by the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, presents no difficulty. Indeed, the prohibition of experiments will also be reinforced by the provisions of domestic law. It is in the application that problems may arise. Obviously, in the interests of research that will lead to improvements in the effectiveness of treatment, it may sometimes be desirable to conduct experiments. However,the fundamental protection afforded by this rule may not be infringed. The experiments should be duly sanctioned by an appropriate authority. Prisoners involved in the experiments should be allowed to be so on an entirely voluntary basis, to give their consent in writing and be permitted to opt out of the experiments at any stage if they so wish. Prisoners should never be chosen as the vehicle for experimentation simply as a consequence of the convenience of their situation. Nor should they ever be put in the position where a refusal to conform with proposals for experiments would result in adverse criticism or the loss of some privilege or favour. Furthermore, the experiments should be regularly monitored and assessed by the administering authorities so as to ensure that the position safeguarded by this rule is maintained.

28. The first requirement of this rule in regard to the birth of children outside prisons seems to give rise to no particular difficulty in practice and is widely applied. Where the female prison population is very small, it will be found managerially desirable to make arrangements for confinement and post-natal care with an appropriate medical institution. However, the second part constitutes another medical rule where the detailed requirements will vary from country to country and from situation to situation. There is no agreement, nor can there be, since judgement, local experience and attitudes will govern the situation in regard to the duration and age-ranges of the essential location of mother and child together. In many cases the position will be constrained by resources. In others, the medical condition of the mother or child will be the determining factor. Whether or not the resources and other considerations allow an exercise of choice, the basic principle should be that which is concerned with the immediate and ultimate well-being of the child and its mother. Whatever views are taken about the appropriate age at which separation should take place and the circumstances in the prison in which the mother is able to feed, care for and develop her personal relationship with the child, special priorities will be necessary for the safe and appropriate management of such. Supervision must be provided on an adequate basis and staff should be specially chosen and trained for this. The medical arrangements will need to be specially devised, provided and managed to the highest possible standards.

The most efficacious management approach demands that the rules that govern these situations, in regard to both mother and child, be clearly laid down and understood. That means specifying what may not be permitted and reserving to medical judgement and management an appropriate flexibility in regard to the practical handling of the situation. Every effort should be made to devise an environment as near as possible to good average outside conditions for the accommodation of mother and child; but the medical oversight and staff supervision will need to be more intensive than that which can be provided in the community. Wherever circumstances allow and treatment considerations suggest, use should be made of community nursery and other resources to provide opportunities for the mother and/or the child to benefit from them.

Rule 28, paragraph 2, is concerned only with the situation that arises when women are imprisoned with their children. In such cases it is essential to bear in mind that experience has demonstrated that a continuous caring relationship between the mother and her child, particularly in the earliest months after birth, is important to the development and future welfare of the child. Up to the point of separation, at whatever age that takes place, the duty of prison management is to do everything possible to ensure the normal health, growth, social, emotional and intellectual development of the child and to support the mother in what is a traumatic experience.

29. The management and medical requirements of this rule are manifestly right and prudent. They are largely fulfilled in the majority of cases, but particular difficulties do seem to arise when very short periods of imprisonment are involved. Another question that is raised, in practice, is concerned with the alternative of allowing an adequate medical screening or investigation to be carried out by staff other than a medical officer in establishments where the general level of medical care and provision is sufficiently high to justify that. As a general principle it must be the responsibility of the governor and the medical officer to ensure that the requirements of this rule are satisfied and it should not be relaxed in practice.

30. This rule is central to the responsibilities of the medical officer in his professional role and towards the managing authorities that carry the overall responsibility for the institution and the prisoners located in it. The reference to hospital standards should be construed as demanding a level of medical care and attention that is commensurate with normal medical standards in the community.

31. Each of the provisions of this rule seems to have given rise to difficulty in practice and it is not, therefore, universally applied. However, an appropriate level of medical advice does seem to be necessary in each instance. In order to facilitate the purposes of this rule it has, therefore, been amended to include reference to a competent authority instead of placing the sole responsibility for inspection and advice on the medical officer. Furthermore, the reference to physical education and sports has been excluded and is covered in the rules concerned with regimes.

The second part of the rule is an essential element in the proper management of penal institutions and gives an appropriate emphasis also to the distribution of authority and responsibility in this matter.

32. The rule has been amended to include reference to the services available in the community so as to recognise and encourage the increasing use of these to the advantage of prison medical services and the rehabilitation of prisoners in regard to their physical or psychiatric needs. This refers also to continuation of medical treatment already stared before imprisonment as well as to medical treatment commenced during the detention which should be followed up after release. In particular, the socio-medical care of drug addicts should be taken into consideration.

Discipline and punishment

The maintenance of discipline and the imposition of punishments are among the most sensitive, and therefore important, aspects of prison management. They are matters in which it is essential, through humane and realistic policy, high professional standards and specific training, to ensure the adequacy and justice of the arrangements through which the necessary controls and sanctions are enforced. Fair and effective punishment systems are necessary to the fulfillment of the rules of general principle and the interests of society, the prison staff and prisoners themselves. The proper control and appropriate discipline in regard to personal behaviour and community activities in the prisons is necessary for the pursuit of the primary treatment objectives of imprisonment. Furthermore, society has a right to expect the prison to be managed on a disciplined basis and the safe and efficient functioning of the staff in their custodial and treatment roles also depend upon that. Discipline for its own sake is not, however, an aim of management. It is a necessary aspect of management purpose to provide an environment in which the roles of a prison can be satisfied. An essential ingredient in that is that the appropriate status and dignity of prisoners and the precepts of fair play should be ensured. The new rules thus comprehend disciplinary routines and procedures, not as wholly punitive or constraining in a negative sense, but as having positive aspects in purpose and application.

33. This rule has been extended to embrace the wider and positive approaches outlined in the preamble to this section of the rules.

34. It is, perhaps, superfluous to stress the validity of the first part of this rule. However, it is universal in application and experience has shown it to be crucial to the credibility and acceptability of the disciplinary codes and procedures.

The second part of the rule is not concerned with prisoners in a disciplinary role. It is meant to emphasise, in the context of this essential rule, that strict adherence to the first part should not inhibit the participation of prisoners in duly authorised prison community activities. In some of these, they may have the opportunity to exercise leadership and a measure of authority in ways that are beneficial to the activity as a whole and to their individual development or treatment. This is an area of regime activities from which much of benefit may be derived from imaginative approaches. It is essential however, that such should be arranged and supervised to ensure their compatibility with regime objectives and the basic requirement of the ordered community life of the prisons with which this section of the rules is primarily concerned.

35. This rule establishes the essential framework within which the disciplinary arrangements in penal institutions should function. Thus, the primacy of the legal basis and the formal competence of

the administering authority are stressed along with the need to place limits upon punishment.

The important new provision in this rule is that which provides for access to and the authority of an appellate process. Experience in recent decades has shown that because of the inherent problems of providing a fair and efficient disciplinary system, especially in prisons which are overcrowded and where prisoners may only be located for brief periods, additional safeguards are needed. Where there is no capacity for adjudications on disciplinary offences to be carried out with an adequate level of formal legal procedure, including the provision of legal representation, for example, some avenue of appeal may be necessary or desirable in the interest of manifest justice for offences that carry a liability for the heavier punishments. The subject is of great complexity and in many aspects highly controversial. It is certainly replete with practical difficulty and resource implications. The rule is thus meant to encourage prison administrations to consider their own disciplinary systems and the legal background to them so as to provide and define an appropriate appellate procedure. In some, that already exists within the legal system; in others, it is more a matter of administrative review. However it is approached, this new provision of the rules should be seen as an essential complement to those which govern the competence of the administrative authority to determine an offence and impose the appropriate punishment.

On a matter of important detail, Rule 35.b should be seen as implicitly forbidding punishment of unlimited duration even when that is susceptible to review procedures.

36. This rule establishes further criteria for the administration of the disciplinary systems in prisons. They have been widely applied in practice and, apart from those instances which are inhibited by resource constraints or procedural matters, have not given rise to serious difficulty.

37. This rule is absolute; any departure from it would constitute a breach of Rule 1 and undermine the whole ethos of humanity and justice on which these rules rely for their moral status.

38. Rule 38 may give rise to a number of difficulties of an ethical and practical character. However, discipline and disciplinary sanctions in some form or another are, obviously, essential elements in prisons. Principles are defined in the rules; the experience and the professional competence of the managerial staff must be adequate to the practical and moral balance involved in applying this rule.

Instruments of restraint

The use of such apparatus in coercive circumstances rightly bears implications that are morally repugnant to civilised conduct. Their use must, therefore, be strictly controlled and avoided wherever possible. There are, however, inevitably occasions on which physical restraint will need to be applied with the additional help of specially designed equipment or instruments in order to prevent physical injury to the prisoners concerned or to staff, escape or unacceptable damage. These rules are designed to set acceptable limits within which such restraint may be employed.

39. This rule prescribes what instruments may or may not be used and the circumstances in which such use is permissible. It seeks to strengthen the medical oversight and to recognise that there may be occasions on which some restraint may be necessary during judicial or administrative proceedings. In the latter case the sanction for such use should rest with the court or the administrative authority concerned.

40. This rule seeks to provide for the ultimate authority to flow from law or regulation rather than the discretion of the of the prison administration.

Information to and complaints by prisoners

The smooth functioning of a prison can be improved by the provision of adequate information and an effective procedure for dealing expeditiously and fairly with requests or complaints by prisoners. The two functions are to be seen as complementary as good information services can contribute to a diminution of requests and complaints. Prison staffs should be trained and encouraged to supplement the written information provided for prisoners and ensure that full use is made of it. In that way they can contribute to the general atmosphere and improve their personal relationships with prisoners on a level that is relevant to and supportive of their treatment roles. Prison management should give a measure of priority this aspect of their responsibilities and review the information resources of the prison from time to time to ensure efficiency and that they are developed to satisfy current


41. It is important that the basic information needed by prisoners should be available at reception. If it is not possible to provide each prisoner with a personal handbook containing this, notices should be available at reception points and brought to attention by the staff whose duty it is to receive prisoners in the institution. The second part of the rule draws attention to the need to assist prisoners with problems in understanding the information that is made available.

42. The precise arrangements for making requests or complaints to the appropriate authorities will vary according to national and local circumstances. The firm principles must be that the system is readily accessible, understood by all prisoners and functions efficiently and with due expedition.

Contacts with the outside world

The philosophy that underlies this section of the rules is dealt with in more depth in that part of the rules that is devoted to treatment objectives for such contacts are central to that. Part of the range of contacts requires specific managerial regulation. For that reason, but more importantly to emphasise the positive responsibility that rests upon prison managements to strengthen these contacts, some of the provisions for this are included in this part of the rules. All of the arrangements dealt with in this section should be regarded by prison managements as part of the routine day-to-day function of the penal establishments and a central feature of the whole information and communications system in each of them. The contacts with families and need for information about life in the outside world are fundamental to the objectives of modern and progressive prison regimes that are directed towards minimising the effects if institutionalisation and optimising the prospects for re-socialisation. However, in the sense in which these provisions are expressed here, they are more a matter for efficient and relevant management style and procedure than of philosophy.

43. Family visits to prisoners or the arrangements for and availability of prison leave should command high priority for resources and in daily routines. Prison leave is especially important in strengthening family ties and facilitating the social reintegration of prisoners. It also contributes to the general atmosphere and humanity of prisons and should be made as widely available as possible in both closed and open prisons. A valuable aspect of policy for prison leave is that it should be carried out in close co-operation with staff and outside agencies so as to encourage the better understanding of its purposes and enhance its effectiveness as an integral part of the treatment regime. As far as possible visits in prison should be without supervision, at least subject to visual supervision only. In cases where it is considered necessary to listen to conversation, approval should be sought from the competent authority.

44. This rule has been strengthened to emphasize the increasing need to give appropriate priority to the requirements of prisoners of foreign origin. As a consequence of enhanced opportunities for foreign travel and through international arrangements for work in foreign countries, this feature of prison management has become more conspicuous and demanding. The special needs of foreign prisoners are reflected with due emphasis in a number of the other rules. Such prisoners should be able to consult a list of embassies and consulates in a position to help them communicate with their diplomatic and consular representatives.

45. The requirements of this rule are by now well established in prison regimes and are generally applied. However, the growth in the use of personal radios, television and other equipment in prisons has given rise to some problems for managerial judgement. As far as radio and television are concerned, the value of these facilities, properly controlled, has been amply demonstrated but the interests of the prison community as a whole must be taken into account when considering the limits of individual use and access. As far as literature is concerned, the law and practice that governs the distribution and possession of this in the community outside should be the basis of prison management policy. But certain restrictions may be necessary for reasons of security or control. As far as possible, publications such as newspapers and periodicals should be provided by the prison authorities.

Religious and moral assistance

These rules are enshrined in that concept of prison administration which has traditionally acknowledged the importance of religious teaching and practice in the life of prisons and to the personal needs of individual prisoners. In prisons, as in the community at large, the status and role of religion and the part that spiritual ministration plays have evolved in response to the pressures and attitudinal changes in modern society. It is still seen as an essential aspect of those freedoms and supportive experiences that have an established and assured place in the daily life of a prison. In terms of these rules, prison managements are required to ensure that the religious life of the prison community and of individual prisoners may be practiced in freedom and dignity within the reasonable limits imposed by resources and the basic routines of the prisons. These rules have not, therefore, been amended to any considerable extent but Rule 47, paragraph 3, has, in particular, been clarified.

46. This rule has presented no difficulties in practice but has been extended to include literature which may not always be in the form of books.

47. The rule is explicit and does not require any further explanation now that it has been made clear that a prisoner has freedom of choice in regard to visits by religious representatives. However, it can profitably and appropriately be emphasised that the religious ministration under this rule should be seen as part of the area contact that prison managements should develop with the outside community.

Retention of prisoners' property

A prisoner's property is a recognisable aspect of his personal being particularly in the circumstances of imprisonment which tend to diminish the status and personality of individuals. That is a facet of the personal feelings of a prisoner that should be acknowledged by staff and management in their handling of property however modest that may be.

48. It follows from that general point of principle that the arrangements governed by this rule should be carried out with care and understanding. That is particularly important in cases of confiscation or where it is decided to destroy property belonging to a prisoner. This is a matter of prison administration in which modern technology may both facilitate the procedure and make it possible to personalise it to advantage by, for example, giving the prisoner a copy of the record of his property for retention or reference. Prisoners should always be informed of a decision to destroy or confiscate property and of the reasons for that. Similarly, the domestic rules or regulations on such articles as valuables, money, medicines or drugs should be made known to prisoners. Naturally, the request and complaints procedures should be available to prisoners in regard to matters affecting property and they should be made aware of this at reception.

Notification of death, illness, transfer, etc.

All of these circumstances can be particularly distressing to people in prison and should be handled with the utmost care and compassion. The way in which they are administered will be seen, quite rightly, in the eyes of prisoners, their families and society as the hallmark of style and the caring quality of prison management. It also has important implications for attitudes and roles of staff.

49. The administrative procedures that are needed to carry out the requirements may be ponderous and even expensive. However, for the reasons given above and for efficiency, they must be given ample priority in practice and be covered by special training for the staff who may be involved in them.

Removal of prisoners

Prisoners are moved in and out of prisons and from prison to prison more often than is commonly supposed. It is necessary, therefore, to have a rule that requires that process to be carried out with appropriate safeguards for the public and staff and with dignity and reasonable comfort for the prisoners.

50. The requirements of this rule should be applied whether transfers or the transport of prisoners are carried out by prison staff or the staff of some other agency (the police,for example).



In modern prison systems, the importance of the work of staff of all grades specialising in management and treatment has been increasingly recognised. Furthermore, the more liberal regimes in modern prison systems which allow prisoners more association out of cells has had implications for staff. Better teamwork is required and staff need to develop a closer understanding of the treatment objectives and their special roles in that respect. This has involved changes in attitude and function. These rules thus give more emphasis to the functions and status of prison staff. They also seek to associate prison staff and their work more closely with the rules as a practical and philosophical framework within which to develop their own roles and professionalism.

The recruitment of suitable people and their training and development to the high standards that should be demanded of the staffs of the prison services should be an objective of high priority for prison managements. The achievement of the objectives will be greatly facilitated if the working roles of all staff are seen to be worthwhile, demanding and enriched with personal and professional satisfactions. Allied to the intrinsic nature of the work itself is the public image of the prison services as a social agency of relevance and value to the community. It is these criteria that determine the esteem in which prison services are held by public opinion and, therefore, their attraction for high-quality people considering careers in the social field. Prison administrations should thus seek to inform the general public of the work of the prison services as a positive and important contribution to society.

These broader objectives need to be matched by good personnel management and constructive and efficient industrial relations. The rules in this part are directed towards setting minimum standards that are comprehensive in all these aspects of personnel policy and compatible with the philosophy of the rules as a whole, particularly as far as management practice and treatment

are concerned. The opportunities for worthwhile work and the demanding nature of its problems make the contemporary prison scene a field of endeavour in which co-operation between management and staff can thrive on common aspirations. The rules provides the ethical framework within which to pursue this end and the practical objectives that should define the approaches to the both management tasks and working routines.

51. This rule establishes at once the crucial role of personnel seen as a primary resource of management and emphasises the priority for the management function of all the rules that concern personnel.

52. This rule seeks to focus on the need to exploit the staff resource, through the best management practice, in all areas that contribute to staff quality, efficiency and their own professional satisfactions. The purpose of training should be seen not simply as a means of promoting professional knowledge and competence, important as that is. It is also a vehicle for raising the level of dedication and professional pride which are essential ingredients in a social service committed to serve the public and care for individuals in adverse circumstance with all the frustrations and disappointments that are inseparable from that duty.

53. It is not enough to offer a purely responsive service to be activated in time of crisis. Although it is a matter of careful judgement at what level and intensity to promote a public relations policy, there is a need for a coherent and comprehensive function. This should be organised to provide a long-term and continuous programme to ensure that positive basic information is available especially where it is most likely to be of validity and use. In parallel, staff at various levels need to be given experience and guidance in fulfilling specific public relations assignments in ways that contribute to public understanding and support for the work of the prison services. The precise demand or need will vary from time to time and from place to place. Nevertheless, the essential thrusts of public relations policy, however diverse in practice, should be those that are specified in this rule. The key words for public relations policy are reliability, understanding, creativity and continuity. Staff have an important contribution to make to that; and much to gain from its success.

54. It is to be expected that the requirements of the rule will be entrenched in the recruitment and selection policies of prison administrations. It would also be valuable if the attention of staff responsible for these policies and the procedural routines through which they are carried out were directed to the rules concerning personnel with particular reference to Rule 54.

55. The main purpose of this rule is to emphasize the importance to staff in general of enhancing and maintaining their professional competence. The requirements of the first two sections of the rule have, in general, become established in most prison systems and their training programmes. That should not be allowed to inhibit new thinking and the creative development of these programmes by the introduction of the latest experience and techniques and the evolution of the curricula to match the changing demands of prison work. The training programmes will deteriorate if they are static; on the contrary an evolving and dynamic training strategy will serve as a stimulus to training staff and those under training alike.

The third section of this rule has been introduced so as to extend the scope of staff training to include the external dimension, which should be a growing feature of prison administration if it is to remain relevant to social problems. This may valuably include training and education in the universities and other outside institutions, exchange visits with staff in other countries and opportunities to learn about the roles and functioning of the other social agencies. The fourth section recognizes the need to familiarise staff with the content and philosophy of the European Prison Rules and with the European Convention on Human Rights which has begun to exert an influence on prison administration. Reference to these two important European documents in training programs should, apart from offering specific information and guidance, put them into the wider penal policy and social contexts.

56. It is fundamental to all situations in which authority and responsibility are involved that good example and respect should be acknowledged as prime motivators in enhancing the results that are achieved by those concerned, both managers and those in their charge. This is a matter of management style and a suitable precept for training objectives.

57. One of the features of prison management and regimes in recent years has been the increasing involvement of specialists either as full-time members of staff or as part-time or community-based personnel. This has been beneficial and should be encouraged on the basis set out in this rule. Care should be taken to ensure that the roles of basic-grade personnel are not impoverished by the development of specialist services and that they are encouraged to work in co-operation with specialists as far as that is possible and beneficial.

58. This rule has been amended to emphasise the professional status of prison directors. It also recognises that in modern circumstances, with improved communications and changing social conditions, it is no longer necessary to require directors to reside at, or in the vicinity of, the institution.

59. This is a valuable rule and, in the light of modern management style and the increasing sophistication of operational routines and regimes, it has become even more important. There are, however practical and resources problems that will demand a range of solutions that responds to particular circumstances. In the main, they can be most fruitfully pursued through organisational structure, consultative procedures, management style and the use of modern technology.

60. This rule reflects the emphasis that has already been placed on meeting the special needs of prisoners with language problems.

61. This rule has been modified to underline the need for competent medical services to be available at all times and to recognise that that may best be provided by a community health authority in some cases. The requirement for residence in the vicinity of the institution has been dropped (see also Rule 58).

62. In the new text of this rule the emphasis has been placed on encouraging the use at every level of staff of both sexes in all penal institutions. The wider use of staff of both sexes should indeed be seen as a normal feature of contemporary management as well as having advantages in the context of treatment.

63. This rule has been slightly strengthened. Whilst it would have been inappropriate to include it as a rule, it is desirable that prison regulations and training should emphasize that force should normally only be used with express authority and in accordance with the rules. There will, however, always be some occasions, in the special circumstances of prisons, when the use of force will be necessary without the possibility of obtaining specific authority for it in time to deal with an urgent situation. In such cases section 1 of this rule must be adhered to and it would be prudent for the prison administration to require a written report on the incident from the director of the institution concerned.


Treatment objectives and regimes

The preceding parts of this explanatory memorandum have contained the basic provisions for approaching the central tasks of the objectives of treatment and the training regimes. The rules in this part are designed to reflect a modern philosophy of treatment, in the light of the experience of the recent past, and to set out the essential elements in creative and relevant regimes. Increasingly, the philosophy of treatment, responding to the findings of research and the changing nature of the problems of training and re-socialisation, has been re-assessed and reoriented. The result has been a growing tendency to see the whole spectrum of treatment experience and the specific design of training opportunities as acquiring new dimensions in regard to objectives. Experience has shown that treatment and training as such did not always have the effects which were expected because the aims to be striven for were not always realistic. It is admitted that the main preconditions of treatment results depend on the willingness and will-power of the prisoners themselves and on the degree of co-operation between prison and free society. Paramount still is the purpose of equipping prisoners, in attitudes and skills, however rudimentary, to cope with the demands of release and the need to stabilise their lives in the outside community. Concurrently and importantly, treatment is also aimed at minimising the deleterious influences of imprisonment upon the personality and social attitudes of people in custodial conditions, and to approach both of these objectives by increasing the involvement of prisoners with their families and the community and by the integration or sharing of community services in the management of the prison and in promoting the regimes. These approaches make heavy demands upon the managements of institutions and upon the staff whose duty it is to work with prisoners. Management must provide the resources, the organisational framework, and contrive the appropriate environment by its style and purpose. Staff must exhibit the confidence and flexibility to work with other agencies and to find the right balance between the control and security of the institution and the optimisation of the contacts with the outside world. Creative and progressive regimes, enriched by family and community involvement, do not imply any weakening of the necessary discipline and security which are of first priority in prison management. Rather, it should be understood that such contemporary approaches and style are only viable in well-managed and properly controlled institutions. The duality of these tasks illustrates clearly the interlocking nature of prison problems and objectives and the inherent difficulties in the management task and working roles of the staff. There is no way in which that many-sided challenge can be avoided or made easy. Even these prison rules, being minimum rules, cannot guarantee the achievement of the objectives. They offer, however, a solid basis for it. In this part, a number of rules are firstly concerned with treatment in general (Rules 64 to 70). After that, rules are given regarding specific and main areas of prison life, namely work, education, physical education and preparation for release.

64. The requirements of this rule are fundamental and it has, therefore, justifiable priority in this part of the rules. In its formulation, it acknowledges the needs of prison management in operational circumstances. Along with Rules 65 and 66, this rule establishes the basic criteria for the approach set out in the introductory passage to this section of the explanatory memorandum.

65. The emphasis in this rule is on the principal objectives of the treatment and training regimes as regards the underlying duties of prison managements and the needs of prisoners. They provide the main lines of an approach to policy and regime design that will confront the problems of reconciling the conflicts between the functions of prisons as instruments of social control and the demands of training for eventual release.

66. Rule 66 is concerned with the specific means of implementing the approaches described above. Thus, a wide range of training opportunities, relevant to the circumstances of outside life, are envisaged in the context of individualised treatment so far as the resources of the institution and the circumstances of a prisoner's sentence allow. Specific reference has been made to emphasise the value of consultations with prisoners about their own training programmes and of a general style that encourages good communications and appropriate relationships between prisoners and staff. The whole spirit of this rule is devoted to seeking every feasible opportunity to enlarge the contacts that prisoners have with other prisoners, staff and the outside community so as to break down the inevitable sense of isolation that accompanies imprisonment and to nourish those relationships that lead to a smooth and natural re-socialisation at the end of sentence.

67. The first two sections of this rule are, generally speaking, well established in European prison practice and management, inhibited only by the lack of resources and pressure of numbers. The third section of the rule has been introduced to give prominence and the authority of the rules to the recommendations of the select committee of the Council of Europe that studied the problems of dangerous prisoners and foreign prisoners. The problems that arise in these cases are compounded by the sense of isolation that may result from circumstances in the case of dangerous prisoners. The former, almost inevitably, will have few or only difficult relationships with staff and other prisoners. The latter are often burdened with such factors as language, culture or their adherence to a different religion from that of the majority. It is necessary to take whatever steps are practicable and equitable to alleviate these difficulties. That will require prison administrations to keep the situation of such prisoners under review and to ensure that the staff concerned are provided with suitable training and information.

Furthermore, the rule acknowledges the continuing confidence of prison administrations in open prisons. The essence of these matters for prison managements is a commitment to individualised treatment, the development of an appropriate range of facilities and a positive system of allocation and re-allocation. These are the essential elements required of a management and organisational structure that is geared to the objectives of treatment and training envisaged in these rules.

68. The preparation of an individual treatment programme for a prisoner will require contributions from various members of staff. They should be cognisant with the situation of the prisoner in regard to personal needs and ability, and with the prisoner's general disposition of attitude towards his sentence and about the problems of eventual resettlement. The full implementation of the rule obviously demands considerable resources, especially in the larger institutions. Moreover there may also be special difficulties in the case of prisoners with very short sentences of perhaps only a few weeks or less. However, even if the investigation, observation and consideration required can only be done at a relatively modest level this should be undertaken. It is very important for the prisoner concerned and for the treatment roles of institution staff that some assessment of individual need should be carried out and, as far as possible, translated into a personal approach to treatment and training.

69. The rule is of long standing and remains compatible with contemporary thinking about the participation of prisoners in the regimes. However, shortages of resources, particularly the lack of qualified staff, and operational circumstances do tend to diminish the extent to which this approach can be practiced. Prison managements could, with advantage, consider, in consultation with treatment staff, the ways in which this rule can be more fully implemented with minimum demand on scarce resources. In view of the problem that long-term prisoners sometimes face when they have completed the programme of training that may be available in the prison where they are serving their sentence, special consideration can usefully be given to providing them with opportunities to participate in the ways envisaged in this rule. Some of them will have much to contribute of benefit to the regime as well as to their own sense of purpose and self-respect at a time when they need the stimulus of a more demanding experience. It is, to some extent, a matter of managerial and supervisory attitudes and can be impeded by unimaginative approaches. In the context of modern treatment regimes, the possibilities envisaged by this rule should be seen as an area for development.

70. This rule is largely a new and wider formulation designed to accommodate the conclusions of recent Council of Europe reports on prison regimes and foreign prisoners and seminars on the preparation of prisoners for release. It thus represents an important development of the philosophy of re-socialisation as the primary objective of treatment and training. Prison leave, in particular, has become well established in recent years as an important aspect of individual treatment programmes. This rule is intended to encourage this development in terms of wider and more imaginative provision. The community aspects of treatment and training have been given special emphasis by linking them with the notion of preparation for release as an objective of individual treatment programming from the outset of sentence.


Traditionally, prison work has been and, despite current pressures in many prison systems and the social problem of serious chronic unemployment, remains the most significant feature of prison training regimes in general. These rules perceive prison work as comprising industrial work in prison workshops, domestic work, farming, specialised work experience and work in the community. Its basic importance lies in the scale on which it is necessarily carried out, its relevance to re-socialisation, the need to make appropriate use of the prison labour force and proper public expectation that prisoners shall be required to work during sentence. There will always be a certain amount of routine domestic work to be undertaken in prisons and the day-to-day management task will need to ensure that it is done. It is important that domestic work should be done with as much efficiency and economy of labour as is possible so the prisoners may be offered work, where it is available, that is more relevant to their roles in outside society. In the main, prisoners will be required to work in industrial conditions, either in workshops or in gardens or in farming enterprises. That work, and the allocation of labour to it, should be properly structured into the manpower policies and organisation and carried out to relevant contemporary standards in regard to manufacturing processes, management systems, production control, quality assurance and marketing. It is important that, as well as fulfilling the requirements of industrial work policy and those of contractual obligations where they arise, work in prisons should make a creative contribution to treatment and training. As far as possible the work programmes should be designed and carried out, conceptually and organisationally, as integral parts, along with other activities like education, of the whole regime.

Thus, it is important, as far as possible, to create work experience and conditions as near as possible to those obtaining in outside life and to offer prisoners a degree of choice and some incentives as regards performance. The payment schemes--and many prison systems are now working towards levels of remuneration geared to outside rates--should reflect these approaches and be appropriately applied to prisoners involved in regime activities other than work. The level at which prison wages are fixed tends to govern the quality of the work experience and will influence other aspects of the regime. So far as prisoners can be given the opportunity to exercise financial responsibility in regard to their family commitments, debts and choices in regard to optional features of prison life, that will encourage the process of re-socialisation. Work carried out in terms of these approaches provides the basis for a system of payment that offers the opportunities for prisoners to exercise a higher level of personal responsibility for their affairs than is often the case in prisons. It is thus valuable in that respect also as an agent for personal development and the inculcation of more responsible social attitudes.

71. This rule sets out the main principles on which prison work should be organised and carried out. These are, in practice, generally accepted, although full implementation is often inhibited by a lack of resources, opportunities or by operational circumstances. Furthermore, prison work, like work outside, can be repetitive, boring and relatively low-grade. Every effort should be made to alleviate these problems whilst recognising that prisoners may well face the same difficulties in the employment available to them after release. In the reformulation of this rule, positive emphasis has been given to the place of work in the regimes and as a positive element in institutional management. The latter point is prompted by experience which has shown that the need to provide labour and to service industrial operations is often regarded as an impediment to the other roles of institutions. The new formulation is meant to encourage a more positive attitude to this so as to optimise the role of individual work as a resource to modern regimes and management styles.

72. Rule 72 has been considerably modified to underline the importance of developing the industrial programmes to standards of production and technical processes that are compatible with those in similar industries outside. The need for modern management approaches is also emphasised and the reference to operating for commercial profit put in a positive rather than a negative form so as to encourage the benefits that can accrue from this approach without weakening the safeguards for prisoners' interests.

73. Broadly speaking, there are two alternatives for the basic organisation of industrial work. It may either be wholly managed by the prison administration on its own premises; or it may be based on contractual arrangements with outside entrepreneurs who will manage the industries inside prison workshops or accept prisoners in their own factories. Each approach has its advantages and will be determined in practice either by tradition or circumstances. The rule is designed to ensure that prison labour is not in any sense exploited when it is hired, under contract of by formal agreement, to outside firms.

74. The rule is designed to afford to prisoners the normal safeguards in regard to their conditions of work as far as health and injury are concerned. It would be appropriate for prison administrations to ensure that there are adequate arrangements for the inspection of the work resources of prisons and that the regulations governing the individual position of prisoners in regard to health and injury are endorsed by an appropriate authority with the necessary expertise and competence in this field.

75. This rule, like Rule 74, is designed to safeguard the position of prisoners, to prevent exploitation and to allow them the benefit of participation in other regime activities relevant to their treatment and training programmes.

76. This rule recognises the importance and value of an adequate and equitable payment system in the context of treatment regimes. No provision to encourage the development of wage systems towards levels that apply for similar work in the community has been made in the rule itself as that would have been premature at this stage. However, a great deal of progress has been made in that respect in a number of countries and that is to be encouraged. Whatever the payment system and the terms on which prisoners have access to cash and freedom to spend it, it will be helpful to encourage the regime approaches in regard to personal financial responsibility described in the introductory passages to this section of the explanatory memorandum.


General and vocational education for long played an important part in the prison training regimes. However, there have been significant changes, over time, in the nature and purpose of the educational curricula. As in the overall design of penal treatment, there has been a switch from reformative and disciplinary approaches towards concepts devoted to the enrichment of personal experience and the consequent growth in personality and social competence that enhances the prospects of resocialisation. In the recent past these new approaches have been developed further and enlarged in the scale of their application within prison regimes as a response to social stimuli and the impetus that is related to problems of unemployment in society in general and the consequences for prison work programmes. This has also led to a beneficial trend towards closer cooperation within the regimes between those responsible for prison education and the managers of other areas of activity. Education is thus playing a more important role in prison treatment than ever before, conceptually, in the scale of its contribution in individual training programmes and as a motivating influence for better co-ordination in the management of regimes. It is certain that this new impetus in education will continue and it is therefore necessary to reflect this change in status in the new version of the rules.

77. This rule establishes the new and enhanced role that education should play in modern prison regimes and in the personal training experience of individual prisoners. Its objectives are directly related to the primary purpose of prison treatment and the personal and social needs of individuals. It is intended to govern the design and resources of the education programs within the training regimes.

78. Experience has shown that, unless the prison pay schemes take appropriate cognisance of the relationship between work and education as essential elements in prison regimes, there can be difficulties in allocating prisoners to the best programmes as defined by their individual needs. Although it is necessary to maintain incentives to buttress the work activity, it is also necessary to ensure that prisoners allocated to educational programmes, specific to their diagnosed needs, are not unfairly penalised by loss of pay. It is a matter for managerial judgment but its underlying principle is the recognition that, within the definition of the rule, allocation to education is of comparable status to allocation to work.

79. It is important to underline, with the authority of the rules, the need for special consideration, and priority as necessary, for these categories of prisoners. This is to acknowledge the particular difficulties they may have, for linguistic or other reasons, in seeking to benefit from the normal programmes or, as in the case of young prisoners, special needs for basic educational skills or specific skills training.

80. High priority is required for remedial education in the programmes of every institution. The basic skills of literacy and numeracy are essential for coping with the day-to-day demands of life in the outside community or, indeed in a prison. The frustrations and tensions that can arise for individuals with disabilities in these skills or the inhibitions they may impose on their training potential can be ameliorated by modern teaching methods. A high proportion of prisoners is in need of this help and encouragement. It is an area of prison education in which co-operation with the educational authorities is particularly important because of the probability of regression if the progress achieved is not reinforced by continuing opportunities after release.

81. This rule gives general application to the latter point of the comments on Rule 80. It is concerned with the overall principle of compatibility as a matter of policy rather than with individual needs. The second part of the rule does, however, relate to personal programmes by emphasising the advantages that may be derived from outside educational experience where that is appropriate in individual cases and is available. There is a welcome and encouraging tendency to exploit these opportunities which, manifestly, can contribute much to the prospects of re-socialisation. As with out-working, such arrangements demand the closest co-operation between the managements of the institutions and the external authorities. That should be seen as part of an overall approach to integrating prisons with the community.

82. The enlargement of the role of prison education has increased the demands and the importance of prison libraries. Despite the operational constraints every effort should be made to encourage prisoners to use the libraries and to retain books in possession in cells and dormitories. The scope of modern prison education demands that there should be full co-operation with community library services so as to give prisoners access to the widest possible range of books and other publications in the literary, ideological, scientific and artistic spectrum. It is also necessary to consider, in appropriate institutions, the introduction of modern technology and the use of professional librarians, so as to exploit the resources of books and other reference material now available for the educational programmes and recreational enjoyment. Prisoners should also be given opportunities to work in prison libraries.

Physical education, exercise, sport and recreation

The new rules in this section recognise that physical education and the whole range of sporting and recreational activity in modern prison regimes have become a major activity of high importance to the general health of prisoners. It has also proved to be of particular value to prison managements in the large and overcrowded institutions at times of pressure and in reducing tension and providing healthy and positive outlets when other resources are constrained. This area of the regimes has become, along with work and formal education, basic to the design of comprehensive regimes and the daily life of prison institutions. From the objective of a minimum period of exercise, regimes have now progressed to the point where impressive programmes of physical education, sport and recreation have virtually made the original requirement for daily exercise an anachronism in most contemporary institutions. In the process, these programmes have become increasingly professional and specialised. This should be recognised in terms of institutional management and priorities. It is another area where there is scope for community co-operation either outside or within the institution as is appropriate and opportunity offers.

83. This rule postulates an approach that reflects the priority that should be given to this aspect of prison life. It should be seen as making a fundamental contribution to the overall standards of life and treatment in modern prisons. The staff involved in organising and managing these programmes in prisons should be given every encouragement to enhance their professional abilities and status for they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and versatile in scope.

84. It is important that management and the physical education staff should see these programmes as an integral part of the overall philosophy of the treatment regimes. Much that is valuable to institutional life and to individual training will be lost if these activities are carried out in isolation from the other major regime activities to which they are complementary. In any case, operational considerations demand that there be the closet co-operation within the management structure, if resources are to be optimised to advantage.

85. This rule underlines the responsibility of management to ensure the health and safety of prisoners. It also recognizes the professional skills that physical education staff have to offer in support of the medical services and in the field of remedial therapy. This is another aspect in which close co-operation is essential between institutional services for the benefit of prisoners and to encourage the fullest use of resources in the general interest.

86. Although this rule is becoming largely residual in contemporary circumstances, it is an important requirement and merits retention in the new rules as a basic safeguard for prisoners. It is clearly better to concentrate on extending the opportunities for exercise and fresh air in wider regime activities. However, this basic provision is still necessary, in the circumstances of some prisons, for individuals under temporary restraint or for those prisoners who do not participate in other activities and wish to exercise.

Pre-release preparation

Special programmes for pre-release preparation are becoming a common feature in progressive regimes. That refers to what is generally designed as a specific, structured training experience concentrated in the terminal stages of a sentence of imprisonment. It is valuable and important in equipping prisoners with up-to-date information and skills and in enhancing their self-confidence at a time when rising anxiety may be a problem for them. However, it is central to the philosophy of re-socialisation that preparation for release, in terms of individual needs and training programmes, should commence, conceptually and in practice, from the beginning of imprisonment. Prison procedures from reception to discharge, the regimes and training programmes, the management of the personal affairs of prisoners and the overall philosophy of the institutions should comprehend the ultimate objective of release into the community.

The following rules acknowledge that the preparation for release falls into two broad areas. These are, a relevant and supportive training experience and the special practical arrangements for the actual process of re-settlement after release.

87. The point about the need for continuity and a prevailing concept in pre-release preparation has already been made. Specifically, arrangements can be made for individual prisoners to work, receive education, or participate in sport and other activities in the community. These opportunities have already been referred to in other parts of this section of the explanatory memorandum. For prisoners serving very short sentences, or those who are only briefly remanded in custody, the prospects may be limited. However, some preparation is essential even if it is little more than some elementary counselling, instruction or assistance, at a technical level, with personal problems (for example housing, work, family).

88. The scope for preparing longer-term prisoners is obviously more considerable and the general consideration in the preamble above should be applied. Every long-term prisoner should have some kind of specific preparation as well as the benefit of the overall training regime. This may include special opportunities in the community or within the prison system either of which can be combined with a special end-of-sentence course. The latter has proved to be useful in practical ways and a valuable medium for involving staff with prisoners in a positive relationship that is helpful to the institutional atmosphere as a whole.

89. This rule is concerned with encouraging co-operation with the social agencies and voluntary workers who do valuable work in the prisons and with prisoners after release. It also insists on adequate arrangements being made to suit the individual needs of prisoners as regards the practicalities of their return to the community. As far as possible, it is desirable that specially trained and experienced prison staff should be allocated to these duties and that they should work closely with specialist staff within the institution and those from the social agencies or services. Insofar as staffing and operational circumstances allow, the continuity of staff working in this function of management will be of considerable advantage. However, all staff members should be trained to co-operate in the preparation for release. This task should be performed in close co-operation with specialists from inside and outside the establishment.

The difficulties encountered in this field seem to flow largely from the inadequacy of resources or training. Other problems stem from the administrative structure of the social services. Every effort should be made to overcome these problems by management action or through closer liaison. The reformulation

of this rule recognises that the solutions to these problems do not lie entirely within the competence of prison administration.


Additional rules for special categories

The rules as a whole are framed to provide a code of standards and practice for the benefits of all prisoners. The extent to which many of the more demanding rules can be effectively applied clearly depends on the circumstances of individual prisoners and their personal status under the law. Thus, what is appropriate for a convicted prisoner, especially one who is serving a lengthy sentence, may be wholly inappropriate or impractical in the case of a civil prisoner or one on short remand. Similarly, prisoners with mental disabilities will have special needs. Nevertheless, the provisions of the rules in general should be applied wherever possible and desirable to all people in prison likely to benefit from them. The rules in Part V should be seen as applying additionally to the special categories with which they are concerned.

90. This new rule establishes the principle in regard to the application that is described above.

Untried prisoners

In these rules, untried prisoners are seen as those persons who are in penal custody by reason of a criminal charge against them but have not yet been tried or sentenced.

91. This rule secures the position of such prisoners and reinforces the possibilities for them to receive the benefits of the rules as a whole so far as that is appropriate and practicable.

92. The formulation of this rule has been amended to clarify its provisions and strengthen its application in practice bearing in mind the status of the prisoners concerned. In its practical application, prison administrations will sometimes be faced with difficult decisions in regard to necessary restrictions and supervision. The overriding considerations will always be the responsibility of the prison management for good order and discipline and the demands of justice and equity as far as the individual prisoner is concerned. The rules recognise this and provide the basic criteria within which such decisions should be taken in the light of the circumstances of individual cases.

93. The reference to "all essential contacts with the administration and for their defence" should be read as referring to the prison administration, legal advisers or the judicial authorities. The rule has been amended only in a technical sense and not in any material way.

94. This is another rule where the practical considerations that have arisen from experience and new thinking have combined to suggest a significant change from the original version. It is clear that suicide risks and more general considerations in regard to the welfare of prisoners may sometimes create circumstances in which cell sharing is desirable.

95. This rule has only been amended to effect technical improvements in its formulation.

96. This rule has been amended to recognise the practical problems that sometimes arise in providing work for untried prisoners who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity. It has also been given a positive emphasis because of the value of vocational or educational training for untried prisoners either as a supportive influence during their imprisonment or for self-development.

97. There appear to be no problems with this rule in practice and it is universally applied in Europe. Its importance and intrinsic value have served to entrench this provision, with its sensible and balanced safeguards, in the code of practice of all modern prison systems. Prison administrations should themselves encourage an imaginative approach to the provision by staff at all levels for such can do much to ameliorate what are sometimes difficult and unsatisfactory conditions for prisoners of this category.

98. There are some shortfalls in the application of this rule in practice. It is an important symbol of the legal and personal status of an untried prisoner and should be adhered to. The rule has been amended to widen the scope of its application and to emphasise the basic principle that is inherent in the treatment of untried prisoners.

Civil prisoners

99. Generally speaking this rule is applied in its entirety and gives rise to few difficulties despite minor variations in interpretation. It has only been amended in a minor technical sense.

Insane and mentally abnormal prisoners

100. The minor technical amendment of this rule acknowledges that its requirements are not entirely within the purview or competence of prison administrations. It is not entirely applied in practice because of the varying arrangements in different countries, the lack of resources and problems of legal definition. However, prison administrations should endeavour to uphold the first section of the rule and to work towards the satisfaction of the other two sections. Special considerations of a moral and medical nature arise in the management and treatment of this category and there is no general consensus of opinion. The rule is designed, therefore, not to promote any particular approach, but to establish the basic principles that are required to ensure the humanity and justice that should prevail. All prison managements must expect to have to devote special resources to the problems that arise and to give them the necessary priority so as to satisfy the requirements of the rules. All staff who may be directly concerned with the management or treatment of prisoners in this category should be given special training and experience. This is particularly important in institutions where the resources are insufficient to meet the needs of the prisoners concerned or to match the responsibilities of management. It is an area of such importance and difficulty as to justify managerial arrangements to ensure that the problems in general and individual cases are kept under continuous medical and administrative review. The continuation of psychiatric treatment after release is of great importance.


AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EUROPEAN PRISON RULES. Text examined by the European Committee on Crime Problems at the 34th Plenary Session

(22 - 26 April, 1985).

A.The history and development of the rules

The increasing emphasis on international co-operation in the fields of penology and criminology and the growing opportunities for this afforded by development of travel facilities and more sophisticated media for communication tend to obscure the historical background of that process. For more than a hundred years, practitioners and theoreticians have sought to work together for progress and, at the intellectual level at least, there has been an international exchange of ideas and experience for very much longer. The development of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners is an important part of that movement.

In common with other aspects of prison administrations, and, indeed, the numerous strands in evolving social policies, the regulation of the standards that should govern the treatment of people in custodial establishments must respond to changes in the moral and material environments in which they operate. Moreover, it is incumbent on the prison administrations to promote and seek to encourage support for humane and progressive approaches based on the highest standards that are realistically practicable. However, unless the rules themselves and the manner of their implementation are manifestly sensitized by moral, intellectual and practical criteria that are compatible with social policy and credible in political terms, their influence will be seriously eroded. That is the compelling evidence of experience and a rational view of the reality of contemporary circumstances. That basic position can be and has been inspired and enhanced by the positive ideals and commitment of the international bodies that have, for more than half a century, sought to express their penal philosophies and objectives in form standard minimum rules.

Over that period, the community life of Europe has been disrupted by war, economic crises and a fundamental shift in social attitudes. To the dislocation of communities by war has been added the stresses caused by the redistribution of people, under economic pressure, between countries and from rural to urban environments. Those vast social movements have been accompanied by a process of family destabilisation, economic inequality and changing attitudes towards moral and religious disciplines. Paradoxically, rising affluence in general, followed by structural unemployment, both fuelled by technological progress, have been paralleled by increased criminality and anti-social behaviour on the one hand, and on the other by commendable influences that are striving for moral purposes and a code of social ethics rooted in high and humane ideals. In that context, there has been a shift in the patterns of criminality and a definitive development in the aspirations of young people and identifiable cultural minorities. Generally rising standards and expectations have added a new dimension to penal theories and changes in the nature of the prison populations through these and other factors such as the promotion of alternatives, educational developments and increasing mobility.

Penal treatment. In this paper "treatment" is used to indicate in the broadest sense all those measures (work, social training, education, vocational training, physical education and preparation for release, etc.) employed to maintain or recover the physical and psychiatric health of prisoners, their social reintegration and the general conditions of their imprisonment. (See Council of Europe report on the custody and treatment of dangerous prisoners, 1983, for fuller definition.) and the rules that underpin the practical administration of prison systems have been exposed to the consequences of all these historic upheavals and trends. In this paper we shall look broadly at the historical development of the rules in the context of international co-operation against that background of change and the essential responses to it.

The rules have their main roots in the work of the international penal reform movements that began to exert their influence towards the end, and around the turn, of the last century. International gatherings devoted to phenological issues were convened in London (1872), Stockholm (1878), Rome (1885), St. Petersburg (1890), Paris (1895), Brussels (1900), Budapest (1905) and Washington (1910). In its modern idiom, and, in particular, as an approach based on the concept of regulating conditions through a code of minimum standards, a definitive approach to penal reforms and prison administration can be seen to reside in the activity of the International Penal and Penitentiary Commission (IPPC) between 1929 and 1933. That work had, it is true, been prompted by thinking in various countries, but this was the first significant move at the international level. The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners drawn up and revised by the IPPC were recommended to governments by the Assembly of the League of Nations at its 15th Ordinary Session in September 1934. On 28 September 1935, at its 16th Ordinary Session, the Assembly of the League of Nations adopted a resolution that the Secretary General should request those governments which accepted the rules to give them all possible publicity by official publication and otherwise. Since then, the later formulations of the rules have, naturally, been developed in response to need and debate, but the overall pattern and the approach as established by the League have persisted. The practical aspect of the rules promulgated by the League of Nations was emphasized as was the intention that they should be observed as applicable in all penitentiary systems, whatever the legal, social and economic conditions. Whilst not advanced as a model for prison conditions, they were intended to prescribe minimum standards within a philosophical rationale based on humanitarian and good social principals. The League of Nations rules were concerned with categorisation, distribution and separation, treatment in general, physical standards, the prison regime, discipline, personnel and post-release arrangements. In the light of current thinking about the extension of the field of applicability of the rules, it is interesting that the original League of Nations version insisted that, in countries where detention in police custody was not covered by the rules, the fundamental ideas underlying them must nevertheless be followed as far as possible.

Internationally, the situation in regard to the rules rested there until after the second world war. In the aftermath of the conflict which, in Europe, saw the establishment of the Council of Europe and a renewed impetus towards more liberal and progressive penal policies, there was a historic world political reorientation and social renewal. In that context the United Nations focused attention on the problems of social order and human rights. Thus, within a wide range of such activity, the United Nations convened a body of international penologists in 1949 which recommended that the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners should be revised. The draft United Nations rules were approved by all the regional groups within the Organisation and eventually adopted at the 1st United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in a resolution dated 30 August 1955.

They were promulgated by the Social Commission of the Economic and Social Council with arrangements for progress reports to the Secretary-General of the United Nations at three-yearly intervals. The United Nations rules brought up to date and developed the text of the original League of Nations version. They were, however, ostensibly rather less ambitious than the latter in some respects, more emphasis being given to the general consensus of contemporary thinking, good principal and practice. Although they were thus more tentative on philosophy, there was a clear and positive recognition of the developing nature of penal practice. Since then, successive United Nations congresses have given prominence to the rules and their application with the objectives of encouraging this and the extension into other areas of custody of governing principles based on the underlying philosophy of the rules and other ideals enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other instruments of the United Nations. At the 6th United Nations Congress in Caracas, in 1980, attention was focused on the status and application of the rules in member states. However, whereas the value and influence of the rules were reaffirmed, concern was expressed about the level of effective implementation. Furthermore, although suggestions were made in regard to the desirability of a modern revision of the text, these did not attract significant support. The Council of Europe position on these aspects to the rules was described in a formal statement which is referred to below. It seems, from the preparatory work at regional level for the 7th United Congress in 1985, that these issues will again be on the agenda with an emphasis on the measures that be taken to improve the position in regard to implementation and on enhanced regional co-operation.

The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners have always had an important place in the spectrum of Council of Europe work in the penal field. In accordance with its Statute, the Council is concerned to promote progress in the social sphere in pursuit of its ideals and principles within the common heritage of Europe. It is within that inspirational framework that it has studied and sought to alleviate the problems that arise from criminal and anti-social behaviour. To provide a formal authority and effective resources for this work, Resolution (56) 13 was adopted by the Committee of Ministers in June 1956. Its central aim was to promote co-operation between the Council of Europe and the United Nations. As a consequence, the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) was established in 1957 with overall responsibility for the lead in Council of Europe activity in this field. In 1968 the CDPC was invited to adapt the text of the United Nations rules to the needs of contemporary penal policy and to further their effective application in Europe. Later, following the work of a group of experts in the prison field, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution (73) 5 containing the text of the European version of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in January 1973. The resolution laid special emphasis on the value of common principles regarding penal policy and contemporary developments in penal treatment. Specifically, the resolution recommended governments of the member states to be guided, in legislation and practice, by the principles of the rules and to report quinquennially to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on progress with implementation. Another initiative was to arrange for biennial conferences of the directors of prison administrations in the member states. The Council endowed those meetings with a primary responsibility to facilitate the implementation and application of the European Standard Minimum Rules within a wider remit which has extended throughout the range of penal affairs. The first of the quinquennial reviews was undertaken in 1978 and the opportunity was taken to establish a select committee of experts to report on implementation in the European prison systems and to study and report on the questions of future revision and the supervision of the rules in Europe. The select committee reported in 1980. Its conclusions were approved by the CDPC, subsequently adopted by the Committee of Ministers in June of that year and presented in a formal statement on behalf of the Council of Europe at the United Nations Congress in Caracas (1980). Those conclusions are described in more detail below. However, it is relevant, as part of the historical development of the Council of Europe's commitment to the operational effectiveness of the rules, briefly to describe here the roles and responsibilities of the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs (PC-R-CP). The committee was established on the rationale advanced in the select committee's report that, as experience had shown, the practical application of the rules would enrich the whole penal process if viewed in the context of a comprehensive philosophy and practice. The PC-R-CP was therefore charged to promote the policies and interests of the Council of Europe in regard to its rules within a broadly-based responsibility. Thus, its roles were rooted in a basic remit to follow and encourage the development of modern practices in penal treatment; to serve as a focus of information and reference; to be available to advise member states on specific penal problems; to prepare and arrange the conferences of directors of prison administrations; and to publish reports and regular information on prison affairs. Within that wide-ranging task, the PC-R-CP would encourage progress and improvements in the application of the rules and report regularly to the CDPC on this. In pursuing its responsibilities for the rules, the PC-R-CP carried out the second quinquennial review in 1983 and followed this up with enquiries addressed to the prison administrations of a number of member states in order to clarify the position in regard to the implementation of certain rules or to encourage progress in particular areas in the light of the results of the review. Those specific inquiries, although modest in themselves, were the first ever made internationally in regard to the application of the rules. They received a co-operative and helpful response from the member states concerned and have encouraged the PC-R-CP to believe that it can in this way work closely and positively with the European prison administrations to raise the level of compliance with the rules and lend its support and experience to the promotion of measures designed to improve the effectiveness of the rules in their practical application.

Beyond the specialised areas of work being undertaken by the CDPC and the PC-R-CP, interest in the rules within the forums of the Council of Europe has been manifested in the Parliamentary Assembly. In Recommendation 914 (1981) on the social situation of prisoners, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in the context of a comprehensive and progressive philosophy in regard to prison policy, agreed with the proposals already made by the CDPC that the rules should be revised to bring them into line with current trends and that their scope should be extended. The PC-R-CP was, subsequent to its review of the implementation of the rules, also instructed by the CDPC to include within its basic responsibility the task of producing a new version of the rules. This constitutes the next phase in their historical development in Europe alongside the efforts of the PC-R-CP to encourage more effective implementation.

The PC-R-CP is aware of developments in other regions with regard to the implementation of the United Nations rules or the emergence of domestic or national Rules as a medium for improving the standards or performance of prison administration and treatment. The attempts at a systematic codification of minimum standards with specific jurisdictions represent an important movement towards establishing the practical strength and moral criteria of internationally acceptable rules as a means of ensuring humane and positive treatment. Proposals aimed at a process of accreditation based on the practical achievement of minimum standards also seem to offer a viable and convincing way forward.

The existence, at global level, of an agreed code of minimum standards, progress in Europe and the development in the practical and philosophical terms of new approaches to penal administration in other regions of the world illustrate the scope for growth and the inherent potential of the rules for improving and inspiring prison conditions and treatment. There is, in some countries, a conspicuous trend towards using the moral strength and authority of the rules to improve the conditions in prisons and their performance in their treatment roles. There is a discernible underlying momentum, uneven in distribution, which it is important to nourish. However, the weaker strands in the historical development with which this paper has been concerned so far, are to be found in those aspects of the subject of the rules which relate to a modern definition of purpose and the vexed questions of enforceability and scope. Nothing in the experience of the rules since their inception fifty or so years ago, however, has eroded their intrinsic values. Furthermore, there is every reason to endorse the importance of the influence that they have exerted in penal policy in those countries that acknowledge the basic discipline of the rules. The development of the rules must now be resumed, if they are not to stagnate, towards a more imaginative and purposeful future that will enhance their influence and elevate their status in prison administration.

B. The rules in practice

1. The status of the rules

It is explicit in the resolutions under which the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners were brought into effect at the United Nations and in Europe that they have no binding legal status in international law. They constitute, however, a code of standards and practice that relies on the general consensus of all those countries that have adopted the rules as a matter of policy or legal regulation. The ostensible weakness of the legal status of the rules, especially as that relates to enforceability or the inherent rights of those whose conditions of imprisonment are intended to be influenced by them, has advantages and disadvantages. The latter are obvious. There is no guaranteed formal basis for complaint procedures on which prisoners can rely in seeking to insist on the minimum standards of their treatment in custody. Nor is there any machinery or capacity, except in those countries where the embodiment of the rules in domestic legislation has given them binding force, under which they can be cited by individuals or organisations to ensure the maintenance of the minimum standards enshrined in them. On the other hand, the promotion of the rules as recommendations clearly broadens their acceptability to a wider spectrum of countries where social and economic conditions may vary to a considerable degree. Furthermore, the consequent flexibility of the rules enhances the prospects of improving their practical application in the prison systems concerned. Both the United Nations and the Council of Europe resolutions made provision for monitoring the implementation of the rules so as to ensure that, internationally, their moral status was upheld and that they were kept regularly under review.

In its review of the rules in 1978-80, the Council of Europe select committee held the view, subsequently endorsed by the European Committee on Crime Problems, that it was consistent with the general concept of the rules that they were addressed to the administering authorities who are responsible for satisfying the minimum standards of treatment and management rather than conferring rights on individuals. Nevertheless, that position may vary in some degree from country to country in regard to the locus of the rules in domestic law or regulation. The effect of the rules within the legal processes that arise from the application of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Council of Europe is discussed in more detail below.

The domestic status of the rules varies considerably from country to country insofar as they have been embodied in national prison legislation in some cases. In others, there are express references to the rules, partial embodiment or none at all. Where the latter is the case, the rules may nevertheless be reflected in prison regulations, in one form or another, either in full or in part. Thus, the principles and the requirements of the rules may be justifiable in terms of law or regulation although not directly in their own right. As far as complaints or requests are concerned, there are some countries where prisoners may rely on the rules as such. In others, reliance on the rules varies in degree in that they may be cited but are subordinate to national legislation in case of conflict, or have no statutory force. In most countries, the rules are admissible in these processes or are indirectly brought to bear in the substance of regulations that have been inspired by the rules in their original formulation. The national inspection services of some countries also record non-compliance with the rules in reporting on inadequacies in the prison systems concerned and there seems to be a welcome tendency to look to the rules for authority in regard to minimum standards for the purposes of inspection. The responsible authority for ensuring the application of the rules in the member states of the Council of Europe varies according to the constitutional and administrative arrangements in force. The requirements of the rules thus find in every member state of the Council of Europe some legal or practical expression of significance to the general level of prison administration in regard to the standards of treatment and the physical and moral standards that prevail in the custodial institutions.

Over the broad spectrum of international law and practice, the tenets of the rules are also reflected in such instruments as the United Nations international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ILO conventions on forced labour, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and a range of bilateral conventions dealing with transfer. But it is in regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular, which is uniquely endowed with the legal possibility and machinery for enforcement, that special considerations arise. A number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights are, in their intrinsic nature, particularly sensitive to the situation of prisoners and the expectations of the rules. Within the whole range of rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the convention, there is to be found application to prisons and prisoners who may be especially vulnerable to the actions and circumstances forbidden by it. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the number of applications to the European Commission of Human Rights in Strasbourg from prisoners has been disproportionately large compared with the population in general. Although it is not advanced as an authoritative interpretation of the convention or the decision of the Commission or judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, the Directorate of Human Rights has published (1981) an outline statement regarding the conditions of detention and the European convention. It has pointed out that, whereas the Court and the Commission have no jurisdiction to examine the conditions of detention except insofar as they involve a breach of a right guaranteed by the convention and that there is no specific provision on the treatment of prisoners in it, experience has shown that even within this definition the Commission has had frequent opportunities to study the conditions of detention. As a result, there is now a corpus of case-law bearing on this subject and the rules have been acknowledged as constituting a "virtual code for the treatment of prisoners". However, arguments in human rights cases based on the requirements of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners have usually been unsuccessful. The general point is that conditions of detention which in some respects fall short of the standards set by the rules do not necessarily constitute inhuman or degrading treatment such as to violate the convention. That view is consistent with the status already described, namely, that although the rules are not legally binding or enforceable, except in the prescribed context of domestic jurisprudence, their moral status and influence as a code of practice are of growing importance.

2. The influence of the rules

This paper has so far averred that the importance of the rules lies more in their influence in raising standards of prison administration than in the field of legal application, whether that is seen in the domestic or international dimension. In Europe, they have emerged over time as a symbol of and as a stimulus to the improvement of general standards and the promotion of humane and progressive penal policies and treatment regimes. There is no doubt that in the prison systems of Europe, the management ethos, development of programmes for modern prison buildings and facilities, the means and objectives of regime strategies and the defined roles and training of all grades of personnel have been influenced by the comprehensive and moral purposes of the rules. Their use is manifest, too, as a yardstick and frame of reference in matters concerning the conditions of life in prison. In regard to the personal situation of prisoners, they reflect the moral precepts that inspire the legal processes, the application of basic human rights and the disciplinary and complaints and requests procedures. Matters, in short, that are fundamental to the maintenance of civilised standards and morally acceptable principles in the management of prison systems and the treatment afforded to those who are imprisoned. Beyond the immediate circumstances of the prison routines and daily life, the moral authority of the rules and the sanction that flows from it find further expression in the public and political dimension and in the important supervisory roles of formal authorities such as les Juges de l'Application des Peines in some countries or the Ombudsman or national inspectorate in others. All of these influential and prestigious institutions are influenced by, and may have recourse to, the wisdom and authority of the rules in the context of their overall responsibilities for justice and fair dealing and, at times, in the particular circumstances or personal aspects of a matter that comes within their purview.

There are also developments in several parts of the world, and a growing debate in others, concerned with the use of the rules, or modified codes derived directly from them, to provide a realistic and effective code of standards by way of accreditation or in the administrative process. The central argument of this approach is that a creditable penal policy must accommodate a coherent code of standards that would secure the prescribed minimum conditions in the prisons and provide a dynamic linkage in strategies for regimes, management and treatment in conformity with the rules. Such an approach involves not only a workable discipline in the administration of prisons to agreed standards but demands also a moral and political commitment to them.

In the philosophical dimension, the rules have had to accommodate a major evolution of thought and practice in the post-war period which seems to have accelerated in the last decade. On the whole the rules have stood up to the tests of change and time very well. Modern circumstances and new thinking have deepened the inherent contradiction between the aims of imprisonment and the fact of imprisonment itself. The elevation of the concept of re-socialisation through treatment regimes based on the processes of differentiation, classification and allocation to suitable individualised programmes of training and education has been confronted by the constraints that spring from the coercive nature of custodial experience. The use of imprisonment to protect society and mark its disapproval of criminal behaviour militates, as a punitive response, against its exploitation as an interventionist agent for the eventual re-socialisation of offenders. It has been the purpose and function of the rules to inspire and reinforce these approaches and, through their contribution to the conditions of imprisonment and the intrinsic qualities of prison regimes, to help to reverse, or at least retard, the negative aspects of imprisonment as a relevant and essential complement to positive treatment programmes. Whilst it is manifestly difficult to assess the indirect influence that the rules have exerted in this central aspect of prison management and treatment, there can be no doubt that, more than any other international statement of prison standards, they are valuable as an index of purpose and performance. As with all intangibles, there can be no precision in assessing this influence. However, most prison practitioners would value the rules in this respect and readily acknowledge the beneficial effect they have. Even those who criticise the rules and their level of implementation are implicitly underlining their importance.

Cynics can, naturally and inevitably, point to the historic inability of public administration, especially in the prison field, to live up to its ambitions and the recurrent crises that frustrate the highest ideals. It is true also that the rules, where they lack a statutory base and an effective enforcement procedure, may fail to match the challenges of operational circumstances, financial constraint or low priority. In their formulation they may also be criticised as being in some respects ambiguous or too widely drawn to ensure the satisfaction in practice of the standards that are enunciated by them. No one will deny that the rules of the United Nations and to a lesser extent the rules of the Council of Europe and the arrangements designed to support them are characterised by these inadequacies. That should not, in a mood of misplaced frustration, lead to over-pessimism or an under-valuation of the influence that the rules have exerted. Nor should it deny the symbolic importance of the rules in inspiring prison administrations and prison personnel in their pursuit of higher standards. That is a primary responsibility for progressive and humane systems. Prison administration without the rules would now be unthinkable. They constitute the most important international document in the prison field.

C. The future of the Standard Minimum Rules for

the Treatment of Prisoners in Europe

It is relevant and convenient to contemplate the future of the rules in Europe in two broad and related areas, those of revision and implementation. First, however, it is convenient to review the historic and contemporary contexts in which future developments must be considered and encouraged. In the recent decades, during which the rules have acquired some maturity in practice, most penologists and practitioners would agree that there has been a watershed in prison affairs. The nature of imprisonment itself has been re-assessed. Firstly, in the light of the ideas and influence of those sections of public opinion that are active in promoting progressive change. Secondly, against the threatening background of public and political attitudes that are apathetic or even charged with hostility and the adverse findings of research. The gulf between theory and practice, occasioned largely by the unrealistic expectations that have burdened prison administration, has exacerbated the loss of confidence and the devaluation of much that was and is good in penal treatment. Few seem quite sure whether imprisonment is an intrinsic element in criminal justice and social policy or a peripheral service designed to absorb insoluble problems. Certainly, few now believe in the ability of criminal justice systems to do much more than contain chronic criminality at barely acceptable levels. Paradoxically, prisons and prison administrations are still regarded as failing in essentially the same purpose when all the other agencies of the social system are unequal to the task. It is as if a moral and organisational vacuum has been created. This and the findings of evaluative research, that have demonstrated that penal treatments differ very little in their capacity to reform, have led to an emphasis on normalising life and activity within the prisons--the so-called "reality prisons". Proponents of that approach have held too that it can be important in diminishing the deleterious effects of imprisonment, that is, as yet, imperfectly understood and remains to be tested in pragmatic and objective terms. Undeniably there has been in penology, as in other fields, an inexorable encroachment of knowledge, ideas and fresh perceptions that are driving back, or at least modifying, the boundaries of ignorance and prejudice. In the presence of this new penology, prison administrations have more thresholds of theory and practice to cross. The rules will be needed to ensure, in affording a sensible, progressive framework of moral constraints, that the essential values and ethical imperatives condition these developments. We may, therefore, expect their importance and relevance to increase. The rules have a role to respond to progress and to inspire the future administration of the prisons.

Since the establishment of the rules, there has been continuous change and progress prompted and shaped by these factors. The rules have, as has been argued, successfully co-existed with the changing perceptions about the aetiology and nature of crime and the generally adverse evaluations of treatment methodologies and objectives. Given the underlying strength of their moral values and the practical reality of their aspirations, they can, suitably reformulated, confidently be expected to sustain their influence in the future. What will be the main trends in that future?

It may be expected that the tendency to see punitive and rehabilitative purposes in a wider social spectrum will continue and, perhaps, the development of a consistent and realistic theory of imprisonment to strengthen the intellectual base that could nourish that process. The broad philosophy of the rules must be equal to this. There will be major advances in management and technology, a revaluation of techniques and new, more sophisticated operational models and equipment serviced by computerised technical devices. The rules must accommodate this in their practical operation and ethical example. The status and rights of prisoners will become an even more conspicuous feature in penal debate and philosophy. The future will also reflect an incremental growth in public and political sensitivity to social problems and criminality and the relationship of these problems to economic conditions. Despite the formidable challenges of experience and debate, it is surely not enough to rely on imprisonment only as a symbol of social condemnation and a deterrent mechanism. A reformulation of the rules in a realistic and progressive context and informed by the impressive range of work promoted by the European Committee on Crime Problems in recent years promises a more purposeful and optimistic future than that.

There is also the question of the desirability and practice implications of extending the applicability of the rules (or some of them) to other areas of social control that involve custodial or other forms of constraint (for example more widely to police arrest and to such non-custodial options as probation orders or community service). This has been raised on several occasions but has not yet been studied and is not a matter concerning the conditions of imprisonment or the administration of the prisons as such.

The text of the revised Rules will represent for prison administrations a significant development of the existing formulation and include new rules to take account of change and developing practice. Its purposes will reflect the work and reports of the European Committee on Crime Problems and its supporting committees. Additionally, account will be taken of the views and specific proposals that have been put to the Committee of Co-operation in Prison Affairs in response to their enquiries addressed to the European prison administrations. Thus, the revised Rules will be seen in the context of the general roles of the European Committee on Crime Problems in the harmonisation of legislation in Europe, phenological research and in its studies of delinquency and social change, the nature of criminality and public attitudes to crime and imprisonment. Specific studies, focused on particular aspects of imprisonment and the treatment of offenders, include work on non-custodial alternatives, sentencing, personnel, young and adult offenders, aftercare, prison labor, female prisoners and, more recently, foreign prisoners, remands in custody, dangerous prisoners, prison regimes, prison leave and prison management. The revised rules can, in the future, provide an important and definitive medium for bringing to notice and into effect the results of this considerable corpus of knowledge and experience in the European prison administrations. Alongside the philosophical contribution of this work to the rules, the future should also see the injection of more disciplines into the application of the rules in practice. There should also be a commitment to encourage more reliance on the rules in the belief that they should reflect realistic, imaginative and progressive approaches to contemporary and future prison administrations and more generally to penal philosophy.


At its meeting in Strasbourg in May 1984, the European Committee on Crime Problems charged the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs to undertake the preparation of the revised European Standard Minimum Rules with an accompanying explanatory memorandum. The ground for the revision had been prepared by the report of the select committee (1978-80), the information gleaned from the quinquennial returns of 1978 and 1983 and the views of member states on specific proposals for revision that were gathered in the process of compiling those returns. As a result, the following broad criteria have emerged with the general support of

the European Committee on Crime Problems and the directors of prison administrations.

In the overall approach it is considered that the revised rules should be consistent with the contemporary social background in Europe, the development of new penal philosophies and changing practices in prison administration and treatment. In their formulation, the revised rules should, so far as possible, be related to current and probable future standards in the European prison services, taking due account of identifiable programmes and policies as well as of the economic and political considerations that may be expected to inspire or inhibit them. As far as the detail of the separate rules is concerned, the revised rules will, in addition to drawing on the information referred to above, take account also of the reports and studies promoted by the Council of Europe; recent work and experience sponsored by other international organisations and domestic developments in countries where the rules seem to be assuming more importance and gaining in influence; and the substance and practical effects of the human rights conventions, Declaration on Torture and similar international documents. The revised rules will also comprehend the importance of the roles and influence of staff in prison administration and treatment and, therefore, so far as is possible and appropriate, meet their legitimate aspirations in regard to their work so as to encourage their understanding and commitment to progressive change in the treatment of prisoners within the rules.

From the legal and technical aspect it is seen as important for their practical effect that the arrangement and terminology of the rules should be compatible with their status which is to place responsibility on prison administrations rather than, directly, to confer individual rights upon prisoners which are normally justifiable in the established legal or constitutional forums. It is emphasized, however, that in achieving this, the protections afforded to prisoners and their general interests should not be weakened. In the textual development of the new rules it is envisaged that they will be reorganized to provide a logical and orderly presentational sequence of the subject matter which will be regrouped so as to associate more closely the related areas of prison treatment and management. This, it is hoped, will enhance the emphasis, facilitate reference and provide a coherent framework for policy formulation and practice. In order to strengthen the presentation of the rules and to put them into a modern philosophical framework there will also be an accompanying explanatory memorandum. This will, additionally, offer guidance on the practical dimensions of the application of the rules in contemporary circumstances so as to encourage prison administrations to work more closely within the code of standards provided by the rules and to facilitate their role and application so as to increase their influence in practice.

In the revised text, as well as being re-arranged for the reasons given above, some of the existing rules which are not formulated as such but are explanatory in character will be transferred to the preambular clauses or the explanatory memorandum, as appropriate. There will also be a number of new rules to supplement the general revision of the existing text which will update the philosophical basis of the rules and enhance their relevance to contemporary or future practice. Apart from those reports concerning personnel, it is proposed to make changes in the formulation of the existing rules and to enlarge on these in the explanatory memorandum, largely relying on work carried out by the Council of Europe subsequent to the promulgation of the present text of the rules in 1973. An exception to this general approach in regard to the work on personnel is justified by its continuing relevance and the emphasis which it is desirable to give to staff roles in the context of the revised rules. Certain other new rules or references in the explanatory memorandum are envisaged which will be designed to strengthen the application of the rules in practice. For example, there will be proposed references or rules covering the availability of the rules to prisoners and staff and their use in management and training. They will also reflect the developing trends of philosophy and practice that have emerged in the Council of Europe such as the objectives of re-socialisation, the increasing emphasis on contacts with the outside world, structured preparation for release, modern management principles, regime planning, staff roles, accommodation standards, prison work and education, the treatment of special categories of prisoners and the importance of public opinion. The text of the revised and new rules and the explanatory memorandum will thus rely on the following for their definition and authority.

Resolutions or recommendations of the Committee of Ministers:

--Resolution (66) 26 on the status, recruitment and training of prison staff;

--Resolution (68) 24 on the status, selection and training of governing grades of staff of penal establishments;

--Resolution (73) 17 on the short-term treatment of adult offenders;

--Resolution (75) 25 on prison labour;

--Resolution (76) 2 on the treatment of long-term prisoners;

--Resolution (78) 62 on juvenile delinquency and social change;

--Recommendation No. R (80) 11 on custody pending trial;

--Recommendation No. R (82) 16 on prison leave;

--Recommendation No. R (82) 17 on the custody and treatment of dangerous prisoners;

--Recommendation No. R (84) 12 concerning foreign prisoners.

Council of Europe reports:

-- Female criminality (1980);

-- Prison management (1983);

-- Foreign prisoners (Recommendation No. R (84) 12) (1985).

European seminars including, particularly, those on the preparation for release and prison education which is currently the subject of study by a select committee.

It also seems likely that consideration will be given to a new title for the revised rules that will more truly reflect their developing roles and status and enhance their European identity.


In Document PC-R-CP (85) 1 there will be found an extended summary account of the present level of implementation of the rules in the European prison services with an indication of the problems that can lead to failures, in whole or in part, fully to apply the rules in practice. To a large extent these shortfalls in performance can be attributed to resource problems that derive from the inadequacies of the inherited building estate which may include premises, often holding large numbers of prisoners serving long as well as short sentences, that date from the 19th century or, in parts, even earlier. That difficulty has been and continues to be exacerbated by overcrowding and by recent and current problems in financing maintenance work and new construction. Insofar as the rules exert an influence in determining the priorities for the allocation of resources to and within the prison systems, that will help to ensure that prison administrations are able to contain deterioration and improve the circumstances that have led to an unsatisfactory level of compliance with the standards enunciated in the rules. However, some of these problems relate to the style of management, traditional practices and weaknesses in the status and applicability of the rules because of non-availability, linguistic or procedural factors. For all these reasons the new version of the rules will seek to modify the language and sharpen its intent so as to clarify the nature and incidence of the obligations that the rules are meant to impose upon prison administration and management. It is intended that this should encourage the adoption and facilitate the use of the rules as a yardstick for all areas of prison administration, including, especially in this context, policy formulation, planning and development, management systems and style. The national inspection processes are seen as an essential and increasingly important organisational arrangement in ensuring the highest possible level of compliance with the rules. How that is organised, its methodology, status and authority are matters for national decision. The need for oversight and inspection at national level to be carried out within the spirit and discipline of the rules could be promoted and reinforced by international agreement within the terms of a European resolution or recommendation. Such an instrument might recognize also the roles of the Council of Europe itself in complementing the influence of national resources in this field.

As already indicated, the Council of Europe originally intended that the monitoring of the implementation of the rules in Europe should be effected through the regular meetings of the directors of prison administrations. However, it was found in practice that the need to devote much of the time available at their meetings to other and pressing issues and the fact that they were convened at two-yearly intervals failed to provide a satisfactory basis on which to carry out this task. This was one of the factors that led to the formation of the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs.

The mandate given to the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs by the Committee of Ministers in 1981 laid upon that standing committee the duty to "ensure the effectiveness of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and make proposals designed to improve their practical application in Europe" with a view to their future revision. That committee is directly accountable to the European Committee on Crime Problems for carrying out this responsibility. As will be apparent from what has been described above, the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs has already carried out the second quinquennial review. In the process of reviewing the position in regard to the rules in Europe, the committee has begun to exert an influence towards clarifying and improving the application of the rules. It would seem that, for the future, the best prospect of effective progress with this task lies in developing the roles of the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs with the consent and support of the prison administrations of the member states. The committee has itself given consideration to its roles and the ways in which they could be enhanced by action at both the national and international levels in the future. There is the function of national inspection which is referred to above, and the committee has already sought to ensure that, in future, failures to apply the rules noted by prison inspectors at national level are reported to it, to help in identifying problem areas and developing solutions. It would be helpful if that process could be encouraged by prison administrations on a more systematic basis. In parallel, the Committee of Co-operation in Prison Affairs has also reaffirmed that, in principle, prisoners should have a right of access to legal advisers and to the courts for the purpose of appealing against decisions by the central administration which are alleged to infringe a rule embodied either in legislation on prisons or in prison regulations. It follows from that, in the view of the committee, that it is essential that prisoners should be informed of their position and know what authority is responsible for taking final decisions to avoid problems of inadmissibility under the European Convention on Human Rights. Although these two processes, inspection and the appellate machinery, are clearly separate in operation and different in kind, taken together conceptually they constitute a valuable means of raising the status of the rules and improving their application. It has been proposed in this context that prisoners or prisoners' associations should have a right to make complaints or representations about alleged infringements of the rules to the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs. The committee has taken view that would be inadmissible, inappropriate to its roles and incompatible with the status of the rules. Nor does the committee consider that it would be possible for the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners as such to be added to the European Convention on Human Rights, since that could well produce the political and constitutional acceptability of the right of individual petition.

Resolution (73) 5 of the Committee of Ministers provided for a system of quinquennial reporting on implementation to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. That automatic review has since, in common with those provided for under other European resolutions, been abandoned. However, in this case the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs, considering that regular returns on implementation were indispensable for carrying out its responsibilities for the rules, was able to complete the second review in 1983 through the helpful and voluntary co-operation of the prison administrations of all the member states. Thus, in endorsing the monitoring of the application of the rules through this procedure for regular review as the best acceptable machinery, the committee has considered the possibility of improving this by reducing the interval of frequency from five to three years. However, it has concluded that, although it would welcome this from the point of view of implementation, it is unable to recommend that course because of the administrative burden that it would impose upon prison managements. It is obvious that monitoring implementation is a delicate area for international involvement and that the procedures for review and the encouragment of higher compliance with the rules through the work and formal responsibilities of the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs can only be developed through consent and in the working relationships it has with prison administrations. However, progress to date does encourage the belief that it will be possible to improve the application of the rules in this way and that the committee can thus play an important part in helping to satisfy the intentions of the Committee of Ministers in regard to the rules and the ambitions of the European Committee on Crime Problems in its efforts to develop a valid common European penal philosophy.


Although the European version of the rules has only been in operation for little more than a decade, it has behind it the authority and moral values that have inspired the concept of an internationally accepted code of standards for the treatment of prisoners for over fifty years. Furthermore, the European rules are supported by a developing philosophical commitment to more imaginative and progressive prison programmes and an overall approach flowing from the Statute of the Council of Europe that enshrines the virtues of humanity, human dignity and ethical social purposes in European penal philosophy. All that is nourished by the formal machinery and work of the European Committee on Crime Problems and the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs through which decisions of the Comittee of Ministers are promulgated and brought into effect. The strength of the belief within the Council of Europe of the importance and practical value of the rules has led to this reappraisal and the development in the Committee for Co-operation in Prison Affairs of an additional capacity to enhance the influence of the rules. Nevertheless, the shortcomings of the rules that have been experienced in operation, the changing situation as regards the problems of the prisoners, the developing philosophy, function and structure of prison life and management, all support the view that the revision of the rules in accordance with the recent studies of the Council of Europe in the prison field and the resolutions which flow from them will be a valuable step forward. Moreover, the real or alleged inadequacies in prison administration that lead prisoners to seek redress on matter of human dignity in the field of human rights can be moderated by a more effective application of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in a modern version that comprehends this important practical and moral aspect of prison life. It is the view in the Council of Europe that the new version will improve the practical application and increase the influence of the rules in its member states. Inspired as they will be by recent experience and new thinking, it is expected that the revised rules, together with the explanatory memorandum that will accompany them, will give a new impetus to penal treatment and strengthen the base for prison management with a more effective framework of standards and values.




European Prison Rules Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners


I. Basic principles

1 5.3, first sentence

2 5.1, 5.2

3 58, 59, 66

4 56.1

5 56.2

6 new rule (NR)

II. Management

7 6.1, first & second sentences

8 6.2

9 5.3, second sentence

10 67.2 + 3

11 7 + 85

12 68

13 69

14 8

15 9

16 10

17 11

18 12

19 13

20 14

21 15

22 16

23 17

24 18

25 19

26 21

27 22

28 23

29 24

30 25

31 26

32 63

33 27.1

34 28

35 29

36 30

37 27.2 + 31

38 32

39 33

40 34

41 35

42 36

43 37 + NR

44 38

45 39

46 41

47 42

48 43

49 44

50 45

III. Personnel

51 NR

52 NR

53 NR + 46.2

54 46

55 47 + NR

56 48

57 49

58 50

59 51

60 52

61 53

62 54

63 55

IV. Treatment objectives and regimes

64 58

65 NR + 80

66 60.1 + 2 + 67.1 + 4

67 64

68 70

69 71

70 62 + NR

71 72

72 73

73 74

74 75

75 76

76 77

77 NR + 79

78 NR

79 78.1

80 NR

81 78.2

82 40

83 NR

84 NR

85 NR

86 20

87 NR

88 61

89 81

V. Special categories

90 NR + 4.2

91 84.2

92 92 + NR

93 93

94 86

95 88

96 89

97 90

98 91

99 94

100 82 + 83


Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: 94 rules.

European Prison Rules: 100 rules.

9 rules of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners have been dropped (1 to 4, 57, 67, 84.1, 85.2, 87).

15 new rules have been added to the European Prison Rules.

Every rule retained has been amended in some way: many extensively; some just technically.