Last February Kirsten Hawlitschek, executive director, and James King, chair of the EuroPris expert group on Prisoner Education met with the working group of the Penological Council (PC-CP). The expert group had analyzed the 30 year old CoE Recommendation n° R (89)12 on education in prison and mapped prisoner education in European Prison Services. Based on that the expert group gave advice on how the existing Recommendation could be updated and improved according to current standards.
The result was a listing of which recommendations that are still valid and which might need updating. Being passed in 1989, the overall conclusion was that Recommendation (89)12 is still valid as a standard-setting text with one major exception – the need to provide education in line with the new information technologies and to provide for educational purposes access of prisoners to such technologies.
This pioneer work of giving practitioner feedback to CoE recommendations was greeted and the PC-CP welcomed the initiative of EuroPris to carry out surveys among their members regarding the implementation of the Council of Europe standards in the penitentiary area. In the meeting notes the PC-CP concludes:
“Such a comparative exercise is a precious source of information regarding the impact of these texts at national level and also helps to further promote them among the prison and probation services, professionals and decision makers. It also brings to the attention of the Council of Europe any problems with implementation or any need to update or replace these standards.”