The CEP & EuroPris Foreign Nationals in Prison and Probation Expert Group evolved from organizations in Europe who supported their nationals imprisoned abroad which met together in the 1980s. In 1993, they formed the European Group of Prisoners Abroad and in 2007 became a Special Interest Group of the CEP. With the creation of EuroPris, the joint CEP & EuroPris Foreign Nationals in Prison and Probation (FNPP) Expert Group was established. This Expert Group is unique in Europe, comprising representatives from organizations working with their nationals imprisoned abroad, universities as well as experts nominated from the EuroPris and CEP membership.
The aims of the Expert Group are wide, covering the objectives of organizations, statutory and voluntary, working with their nationals imprisoned and on community sanctions abroad as well as foreign nationals of other countries, imprisoned or on community sanctions in their country. These needs are complementary and produce a shared perspective with common objectives and purposes focused on effective rehabilitation and resettlement, and the reduction of the risk of reoffending, based on European and international instruments, guidance and recommendations with a human rights perspective. The CEP & EuroPris FNPP Expert Group works collaboratively to improve the management and resettlement of FNPPs in European prisons by assisting in the collection, sharing and dissemination of information that provides value to interested individuals and groups, and CEP and EuroPris members.
The purpose of the Expert Group is to promote better national regulation and best practices for foreign national prisoners in Europe through the exchange and dissemination of information on the policy, operational practice, training and management by prisons, probation and the voluntary sector regarding foreign offenders and prisoners. It has done this through; organising European Workshops in London 2014, Brugge 2016, The Hague 2018, and a webinar in 2021, expert members highlighting and promoting the issues at European meetings such as the Council of Europe PC-CP 2015, CEP DG Conference 2016, undertaking research on FN-only Prisons and implementation of CoE Recommendations 2012 (12), collating a Table of Recommendations and Practices, running a training day for prison managers and prison staff trainers promoting the CoE Recommendations on Foreign Prisoners and being a partner in relevant EU Projects such as the Erasmus+ Foriner Project. The group has also produced Special Edition Foreign Prisoners Newsletters in 2017 and 2020.
Professor Marcelo F. Aebi of the University of Lausanne and his team have produced an important report recently on the situation of foreign national offenders in the prison and probation setting in Europe, based on their SPACE data for the Council of Europe PC-CP.
Foreign offenders in prison and probation in Europe; Trends from 2005 to 2015 (inmates) and the situation in 2015 (inmates & probationers), dated 3rd December 2018, consists of a descriptive longitudinal study presenting the data currently available on the number of foreigners in prison populations and under the supervision or care of probation agencies in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
View the reports here: www.coe.int/prison
The Council of Europe’s Recommendations concerning foreign prisoners CM/Rec (2012) 12 were adopted to help national prison services focus on the special needs of foreign prisoners and to think of ways to provide such prisoners with opportunities equal to those of other prisoners. In particular, it seeks to improve the regime foreign prisoners are subject to, alleviate their isolation and facilitate their treatment with a view to their social reintegration. These Recommendations ask that Governments of Member States be guided in their legislation, polices and practice by the rules contained in these Recommendations.
To promote the implementation of these Recommendations, the joint EuroPris & CEP Foreign Nationals in Prison and Probation Expert Group has collected examples of how European prison and probation services are addressing the needs of foreign prisoners and foreign offenders in policy, practice and principle based on the CoE Recommendations. The examples of prison and probation practice in the ‘ Table of CoE Foreign Prisoners Recommendations with Good Practice Examples’, are recorded next to the relevant CoE Recommendation, with a brief description of the initiative, information on whether it is a national, regional or local initiative, the legal basis and budgetary implications of the initiative and contact details to obtain further information. Should you know of any initiatives which could be included in the Table, please provide information to the EuroPris secretariat at [email protected]
Please direct any comments or queries to the Coordinator of the Foreign Nationals in Prison and Probation Expert Group, [email protected].
As for all other expert groups, 2020 has been a challenging year for the FNPP group. A planned meeting in The Netherlands, alongside a conference with the Dutch prison for foreign nationals, which would have been the first meeting for new EuroPris members from Austria, Catalonia Spain, Lithuania and Cyprus, as well as new CEP members, was postponed at short notice. However, despite work challenges with the extra demands on members due to Covid-19, 2020 proved to be very productive for the group. This is against the background of foreign prisoners facing difficulties in addition to those facing all prisoner groups, particularly in maintaining family and community contacts abroad. The increased and innovative use of the internet and other communication opportunities in the place of prison visits has ameliorated their absence to an extent. Nevertheless, the impact on the mental health of foreign prisoners has been particularly significant due to the greater isolation, home concerns, impoverished regimes and delays in returning or being returned home abroad faced by this group. The impact of Covid-19 and the prisons’ response to the management of foreign national prisoners as a group under exceptional operational pressures, their effectiveness and whether they should remain in place, will be an important focus of the group’s future work plan.
The activities of the group this year have included the production of a Special Edition EuroPris Newsletter in Autumn 2020 on foreign national prisoners and offenders in the community. Expert group members provided reports, studies and summaries covering the impact of Covid-19. The expert group’s e-learning module, ‘Managing Foreign National Prisoners’, developed in conjunction with the Council of Europe HELP Programme, continues to provide a useful and engaging training programme for prison staff, particularly useful during the pandemic with staff training opportunities restricted and independent on-line learning being an alternative format. In addition, in December, four group members contributed their expertise at an seminar organised by the European Law Academy, ERA in which EuroPris was a partner, entitled ‘European Prison Rules for European Prison Conditions’. Focusing on foreign national prisoners and the Council of Europe’s Recommendations 2012(12). Dr Roisin Mulgrew made a keynote address with other members hosting and presenting in a workshop session on managing foreign prisoners.
2018 started with a new member joining the Expert Group: Tijs Bagchus, Netherlands, strategic management advisor for Prisons and Immigration Detention. The group now has members representing eight European countries. The Group is now planning a workshop in Utrecht on 9-10 October building on our successful workshops in Bruges (2016) and London (2014). We will bring together practitioners, policy makers, voluntary groups and universities.
The programme contains prominent key note speakers who will discuss on current issues and good practice from across Europe. Contact the Group coordinator (e-mail below) if you, or others known to you, would be interested in presenting at the workshop. Registration details to follow on the EuroPris website and mailings.
The expert group met last in Brussels in November where group members also attended the final Conference of the Foriner Project. EuroPris and CEP were associated partners of this innovative project co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme which piloted models for providing distance education to foreign national prisoners in Europe. The project devised a ‘Foriner Model’ for delivering distance education for foreign national prisoners which will be promoted by the European Prison Education Association and the Expert Group, see http://www.foriner.com/
The Group’s initiative to collate and disseminate good practice examples for working with foreign prisoners referencing the Council of Europe’s Recommendations 2012(12) progresses well with a grant from the Economic & Social Research Council through Nottingham Universities IMPACT Leaders Programme. Access to the ‘Good Practice Manual’ will be further developed by creating an E-Learning training module through collaboration with the Council of Europe’s Human Rights National Implementation Division’s Unit (HELP). Our current good practice examples will be incorporated into an interactive, accessible training module. We are still looking for good practice examples for working with foreign prisoners continue for inclusion in this expanded resource for prison and probation, please contact the Expert Group Coordinator, [email protected]
Foreign national offenders pose particular challenges to those who are working with them in the custodial and community setting. This workshop attracted over 60 participants from prison, probation and NGOs from 21 European countries, to hear presentations and engage in discussion and debate on this increasingly important area of criminal justice policy and practice. The Workshop was organised in cooperation with the Belgium Prison Service, by EuroPris and CEP Foreign National Prisoners Expert Group from which six of its members provided key presentations. The purpose of the Workshop was to promote better national regulation and best practices for foreign national prisoners in Europe through contributing to a greater awareness of FNP issues and through improving the management, rehabilitation and resettlement needs of FNPs. The aim of the Workshop was to: promote the welfare and interests of European nationals who are imprisoned outside their country of residence, in order to facilitate their social reintegration promote co-operation and the exchange of information between national and international agencies and groups which support prisoners abroad and their families liaise with individuals as well as state and non-governmental bodies which provide support to prisoners abroad.
A World Café session was used to maximise participant engagement and sharing of knowledge among participants. You may find the report from the World Cafe here. At the Workshop, an initiative of the EuroPris/CEP Foreign National Prisoners Expert Group to collate a ‘Good Practice Manual for Working with Foreign Prisoners’ was launched. It is the intention of the Expert Group to collect examples of working with foreign offenders and prisoners in Europe to spread good practice among European States, please contact [email protected] for details of this initiative or to contribute to it.
The booklet Picture it in Prison has been developed for foreign national prisoners and for prison staff working with them to overcome the language obstacle. The new version has 450 different pictures classified per theme and translations of 60 basic words and sentences in twenty frequently used languages. The booklet (72 pages) can be ordered via [email protected] for € 5 (excluding 6% VAT and postal costs). For large orders it is possible to add the logo of the prison service on the reverse cover of the booklet. Download a sample of the booklet here.
To download all the presentations, the summary report and the world cafe report, please download both parts 1 and 2:
On 23 November EuroPris organised in cooperation with the University of Nottingham and the Belgian Prison Service a one-day workshop providing training on the Council of Europe Recommendation’s provisions on Foreign Prisoners and exploring the challenges and best practices related to its implementation. The training was attended by 41 Prison governors, policy and training managers from 17 European countries. The focus was on regime improvement, rehabilitation/reintegration and staff training. The event provided participants also with an opportunity to contribute to the development of a good practice manual and build a network with practitioners working in this field in other European countries.
The first meeting of the FNP Expert Group in 2015 took place in Bucharest following the EU funded STEPS 2 Project Conference. It was beneficial to combine the FNP Expert Group meeting with this dissemination conference on prisoner transfer under EU Framework Decision 909, given its relevance for the Expert Group members.
The Expert Group had a fresh start in 2016 by welcoming seven new members, nominated by EuroPris members and CEP. EuroPris nominations comprised Jennie von Alten, a Prison Governor of the Swedish Prison & Probation Service, Smiljka Barancek, Head of Unit from the Croatian Prison System Directorate and Isabelle Storme Psychological Advisor, Belgian Prison Service. Also nominated, Henrik Marker, Prison Governor of the Danish Prison and Probation Service was unable to attend the meeting in person. New nominated members from the CEP were Sonia Crozier, Deputy Director South East & Eastern National Probation Service, (England & Wales), Iuliana Carbunaru of the Romanian Probation Service and Gerhard Ploeg, Senior Advisor from the Directorate for Correctional Services, Norway.
The work undertaken by Group members to date from the 2015-2017 work plan was reviewed as well as the Group’s redrafted Terms of Reference. Particularly, the Research Study undertaken by Dr. Roisin Mulgrew, (member of the Expert Group and assistant professor at Nottingham university) into the implementation of the Council of Europe’s Recommendations on Foreign National Prisoners in foreign national only prisons. Dr Mulgrew was invited to present her research findings to the CoE’s Council for Penological Cooperation (PC-CP) in October 2015 joined by Kirsten Hawlitschek (EuroPris), co-chair of the FNP Expert Group.
The Expert Group further concentrated on the planning for a Foreign National Prisoners Workshop to be held in November 2016. Details of this workshop will be announced this summer, the drafting of a ‘Good Practice Handbook on Working with Foreign National Prisoners’ as well as a training event later this year for representatives of European Prison Services (prison governors and staff trainers) on how the CoE’s Recommendations on Foreign Prisoners can be and have been put into practice.
The FNP Expert Group, which is a unique collaborative Expert Group between EuroPris and the CEP, is looking forward to a busy and productive year in this important subject area using the experience of its prominent members.
Two events with a focus on Foreign Nationals took place in Amersfoort, The Netherlands in February. On 12 February 2015 Anniversary of the organisation Education behind Foreign Bars was celebrated with an international conference. The next day, February 13 2015, the EuroPris/CEP expert group on Foreign National Prisoners held an expert meeting to establish a focus and plan their activities for 2015.
At the Foreign National Expert meeting organized by EuroPris / CEP the participants from the prison and probation services and university of Nottingham discussed the concrete activities that the group can take up in the current year to increase the attention for Foreign Nationals in Prison. Building on the intentions of the Council of Europe to evaluate the implementation of their recommendations, the expert group came right after the meeting to an agreement with the CoE to provide a presentation to the plenary session of the Council for Penological Cooperation on the implementation of the 2012 Recommendation on Foreign Nationals.
Foreign National Prisoners is an issue if growing importance for European Prison Services. EuroPris and CEP decided to address this issue jointly and developed with the support of their FNP expert group an agenda for the workshop. The workshop was held in London 20-22 October 2014, and was attended by 60 participants from 14 countries and 17 Prison and Probation agencies.
The workshop focused on a comparison between prisons with 100% FNP and FNP dominated prisons and deal with the issues of release, resettlement and reintegration of FNPs. The participants at the workshop also had the opportunity to visit Maidstone prison, which is a 100% FNP prison.
On 20th May 2014 an expert meeting on Foreign National Prisoners (FNP) took place in Vienna. The meeting was jointly organised by EuroPris and CEP and hosted by the Austrian Ministry of Justice. At the meeting representatives from four European organisations participated; the organisation Prisoners Abroad, The University of Nottingham and the directors of CEP and EuroPris. The aim of the meeting was to develop a strategy (short term/long term) to put the issue of Foreign National Prisoners on the agenda of European Probation and Prison Services; to define tangible and manageable goals and results and to select a limited number of activities that can be realised by the work of the expert group in the coming year.
The CEP and EuroPris held a joint expert meeting on foreign national prisoners on 3 October 2013.
A Special Interest Group on this topic has worked under the umbrella of CEP for many years. As a result of the closer cooperation between CEP and EuroPris it was proposed to revigorate this group under a joint umbrella. Participants from probation and prison services as well as non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) and universities active in the field of foreign nationals will look into the needs of both sectors and define new aims and objectives for the future work of the Special Interest Group. In this discussion the prison sector will be represented by experts from the Netherlands’ National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), the Austrian and Norwegian Prison Service’s and the University of Nottingham (previously involved in the Council of Europe Recommendations on Foreign Prisoners).
Sophie Gosselin – Probation Service of Luxemburg (LU)
|Petra Pavlas – Ministry of Justice (AT)|
|Athena Demetriou – Ministry of Justice and Public Order: Department of Prisons (CY)|
|Toni Jiménez – Directorate General of Prison Services – Catalonia (ES)|
|Luisa Ravagnani – University of Brescia (IT)|
|Brian Hanley – Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO)|
|Carina Heckroodt – Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
|Pauline Crowe – Prisoners Abroad (UK)|
|Tijs Bagchus – Custodial Institutions Agency (NL)|
|Audrė Mišeikienė – Ministry of Justice: Prison Department (LT)|
|Willem van der Brugge – Confederation of European Probation (CEP)|
|Dr Roisin Mulgrew – National University of Ireland, Galway|
|Daniel Danglades – French Probation Service (FR)|
|Jochum Wildeman – Dutch Probation Office (NL)|
|Gustav Tallving – EuroPris (NL)|
EuroPris Group Coordinator: Nick Hammond