Utrecht 3 October

Present: Roisin Mulgrew (University of Nottingham), Gaute Enger (Norwegian Prison Service), Joanna Joyce (Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas), Marit Weihen (Austrian Prison Service), Daria Jansen (CEP), Luisa Ravagnani (Italian ngo) , Nicolet Faber (Probation Service Netherlands, Foreign Office), Femke Hofstee (NPM Netherlands), Wilhelm van der Brugge (CEP), Nick Hammond (London Probation), Pauline Crowe (Prisoners Abroad), Mary Anne McFarlane (PA skype)

Summary of the presentations

Presentation Roisin Mulgrew on CoE Recommendation on Foreign Prisoners:
– 125.000 persons or 20% are Foreign Nationals in European prisons
– Numbers are growing due to greater mobility, criminalization of immigration
– Problems: isolation, language, social support, reintegration, access to programmes resulting in discrimination
– Very diverse foreign populations, from a large number of different countries
– Previous CoE recommendation was from 1984
– Recommendations are not legally binding, but adopted on a basis of consensus
– New recommendation of 2012 focus on: treatment, release and reintegration, training of staff, social/legal/consulate support, number in detention

  • Equal and individual treatment as a standard principle
  • Focus on reduction of numbers, regime improvement, reintegrationEqual treatment rather than preferential treatment
    • High number of foreigners in pre-trial detentions (foreigners do not easily get bail or alternatives to imprisonment)
    • Similar problem with conditional release
    • Cultural sensitive approach to nutrition, clothing, exercise of belief, healthcare
  • With regard to staff attention needs to be paid in the process of recruitment, training and specialization
  • Language barriers are one of the largest problems in relation to FPIsolation: allocation, contacts with family and friends, other support structures: focus on social and reintegration needs rather than nationality
    • Provide information upon admission
    • Access to interpreters and translations
    • Access to literature
    • Medical care
  • Preparation for release can be difficult if it is not known where the prisoners will go after release; it is important that the decision about the status of the FP is taken at an early stage
  • Gaps and Limitations:
    • Consular representations: no minimum standards introduced
    • Nationals detained abroad: no mentioning
    • Transfer: lack of information about conditions in other countries, early release schemes
    • Non-national residents: people without citizenship (irregular migrants – administrative detention)


Special Interest Group – Nick Hammond and Pauline Crowe:
– Set up late 1980s by 3 organisations: PA, Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, International Office Netherlands; Associate membership: Spain, Belgium, Sweden
– Later taken under CEP umbrella
– Still the same members after 20 years; appeared to be difficult to set up similar organizations
– Mainly focus on best practice
– Goals: Information databases would be useful; provision of written information
– One concrete action was possible with European funding in the Baltics, producing a good practice guide (still on CEP website): how to set up this type of support group; did not result in establishment of new support groups
– Provided presentations to the CDAP Rome 2012, Utrecht conference and general advise to CoE
– Access up to date information on prisons: in terms of resettlement, information that prison and probation staff can use in their work; easy understandable information for the prisoners;
– Business case was produced in 2011 for getting the attention of policy makers; business case intended to use for targeting specific countries to set up similar organizations; it depends very much on enthusiast individuals taking the responsibility for setting up such an organization
– Experience in Norway: established their first 100% foreign nationals prison: started in Norway in 2013: 120 foreigners in the prison; 62 nationalities; have people with the same background together; makes them feel more equal and more relaxed; specific educational programmes for the staff
– Possible future activities of the SIG:

  • Building on the Framework decisions and on the implementation of the CoE recommendations;
  • Setting up an exchange network, set up (regional) support for others organizations, regional information system to know release structures etc; establish a knowledge center for people in the field;
  • Communicate concerns about the FNP to the Prison Services in Europe;
  • involving a research institute could support obtaining longer term funding.

General working group feedback

– FNPs are one of the most serious problems ;
– It is a pan-European problem, also related to overcrowding and resettlement;
– FNPs can be seen as a special group, just like juveniles
– Needs are different for FNP in a country compared to nationals abroad;

  • there is more attention to FNP;
  • number of FNP is much higher than nationals abroad

– Group of FNP is increasing and becoming more complex
– As there is a lack of funding for the work on that topic, the could try to work on best practice cooperation without funding
– Risk and information transfer are key issues for both sides
– Need for a manual or a best practice guide or training material that prison staff can use in their daily practice
– Support of volunteers in prisons has a real and positive effect on prisoners
– Contact to prison sector is lacking, but should be there; until now it was centered on ngo’s : practitioners and policy persons
– EuroPris could ask to appoint a contact person in each country on this issue
– Explore possibilities for contact of FNP with family members through skype
– Norway develops currently procedures by themselves, without input from other countries
– Develop a mailing list with the contacts of all persons interested in the subject
– Importance of FNP is growing;
– all SIG organisations are still functioning
– overarching principle is the goal of reintegration, resettlement and hr based treatment
– Be realistic
– Let go of too high aspirations
– Give visibility to FNP
– Focus on the recommendations
– Select just a few specific points of attention
With whom?
– CEP, EuroPris, SIG
– Management of the group with CEP/EuroPris
– Small core steering group
– Larger online community (Yammer)


Reintegration/resettlement/reduced recidivism/managed risks/ rights based treatment
1) Better national regulations and practice (focused)

  1. Select pressing topic from CoE recommendations that are easy and low cost to implement
  2. Policy advise on short term achievements and priorities

2) Create awareness of FNP issues – network of contacts in prison, probation, ngo, academics. Also development of online community

3) Resource of information and knowledge (all webbased)

  1. Best practical practice guide
  2. Training manual

4) Increased post-release resources of FNP: stimulate establishment of ngo’s working on FNP
– Important to work on ideas that are focused, tangible, manageable and achievable
– Development of projects targeting specific countries: joint funding bit

Next steps

– write strategic plan / flyer based on this session
– flyer should be available for the CDAP in Brussels 27-29 November
– establish group of experts that will meet in beginning 2014 to select topics and prepare documents for a joint CEP/EuroPris/SIG workshop in 2014
– select members for the steering group
– workshop on FNP in second half 2014
– CEP/EuroPris to decide on the daily management and support for the SIG