European Prison Observatory

We were the UK partner in a pan-European project funded by the European Union and coordinated by Associazione Antigone in Italy.

The purpose of the European Prison Observatory was to investigate and compare prison conditions, share better practice and promote the adoption of the National Preventative Mechanism and respect for human rights in prisons management across the European Union. The first stage was completed in December 2014. Stage two focused on Alternatives to Custody and finished in December 2015, and the Observatory is currently discussing the third stage of the project. Following the vote to leave the European Union, the Centre hopes to participate as a sub-contracted partner through the offices of our friends at Associazione Antigone.

The first stage comprised three strands:

Detention in Europe: Involving the collection and collation of data on prison and penal conditions in eight European countries.
European guidelines on detention:Involving the identification of local practices and dissemination of different models in prison management. This strand will also include local workshops.
Monitoring bodies: Mapping in every country of activities and reports of the NPMs and of other monitoring bodies. Organising a National workshop to present and discuss the collected materials and the comparison results with local and national prison ombudsmen, monitoring bodies and other relevant institutions.

The other partner organisations were:


For more information please contact will.mcmahon@crimeandjustice.org.uk