‘Foreign Nationals In Prison & Probation in Europe – What Do Statistics Tell Us and How Can They Inform Policy & Practice ?’

EuroPris and CEP in collaboration with the SPACE research team of the University of Lausanne, hosted this webinar to consider the available statistics on foreign national offenders, what they tell us and how they might be useful in the development of policy and practice.

Space I (prisons) and Space II (community sanctions) reports are produced by the University of Lausanne on behalf of the Council of Europe from data provided by its 47 member states. This webinar looked at what is available for comparative study and whether it may contribute to the policy and practice of those responsible in prison, probation, and other agencies working with this group.

Willem van der Brugge, the Secretary-General of CEP, opened the webinar welcoming those attending who represented prison and probation services, academia, NGOs, and other interested parties from across Europe and beyond.

Webinar presentations, all available via the links below, began with Prof. Marcelo Aebi who leads the SPACE team at the University of Lausanne, providing an outline and commentary concerning the range of data available in the SPACE I & SPACE II Annual Reports. Professor Aebi was followed by SPACE team members Melanie Tiago, who provided greater analysis on SPACE I Reports, and then by Yuji Hashimoto, who similarly provided further description and comment on SPACE II Reports.

The second half of the webinar started with three members of the joint EuroPris & CEP Foreign Nationals in Prison and Probation (FNPP) Expert Group, giving presentations from their particular professional perspectives on the value and impact of statistics on their work.

Luisa Ravagnani, founder of Italian Prisoners Abroad and from the University of Brescia, Italy, spoke on behalf of those organisations within the FNPP Expert Group who provide services for their nationals imprisoned abroad groups.

Tijs Bagchus, Policy Officer of the Dutch Custodial Institutions Agency, The Netherlands, similarly provided a statistical overview of the situation of foreign prisoners in the Netherlands.

Daniel Danglades, Policy Officer of the French Prison & Probation Services, provided a comprehensive and detailed overview of the situation in France of foreign national prisoners and those on community sanctions.

Prof. Marcelo Aebi concluded the webinar with a detailed and key presentation on the range of statistics contained in current SPACE I & II Reports on foreign prisoners and foreign offenders in the community. Data requests from the Council of Europe to its Member States about nationality have expanded in recent years to include additional questions on residency and legal status.  They provide for increasingly useful comparative and longitudinal studies on the complex issues around foreign offenders, both in custody and the community, which continue to be of considerable interest and concern in the European States.

It was clear from the range of questions coming from attendees, that the question posed by the webinar on the applicability and relevance of statistics in the formulation of policy and practice is complex and not readily answered. The detailed and impressive presentations from the SPACE team and members of the FNPP Expert Group require further time to consider. They provide an essential introduction to the increasing range of information available in SPACE Reports on the nationality, residency, and immigration status of offenders in prison and the community across Europe. As with all complex criminal justice matters, the webinar generated more questions than it answered and the topic certainly warrants further consideration.

Gustav Tallving, the Executive Director of EuroPris, closed the webinar, thanking presenters and attendees for their contributions.

The webinar presentations can be downloaded here :

The webinar recordings can be accessed here :

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