Rights and Recommendations: Prison Perspectives on the Committee for the Prevention of Torture
Citation:Ciara O'Connell and Mary Rogan, Rights and Recommendations: Prison Perspectives on the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, 2020
Briefing Paper.pdf (Pre-print (author's copy) - Non-Peer Reviewed) 1.065Mb
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is a supranational human rights monitoring body tasked with carrying out visits to places of detention across Europe. The CPT is unique in its activities as a monitoring body not only because its delegates conduct unscheduled visits to places where people are deprived of liberty, but also because it works with states to prevent treatment and conditions that may lead to human rights violations. Prisons fall within the remit of the CPT's visiting activities, and are the subject of much CPT exploration, standard-setting and state-dialogue. CPT recommendations have the power to influence prison policy, and as such are an important tool to amplify issues raised by national monitoring bodies and civil society organizations. While previous literature explores state compliance with CPT recommendations, there remains a gap in knowledge when it comes to understanding prisoner and prison staff perceptions of CPT recommendations. Reflecting on empirical research conducted in Norway and Scotland, this paper explores how prisoners and prison staff respond to and are impacted by CPT recommendations. The paper draws on findings from more than 50 interviews conducted across two prisons, one housing men and one housing women, approximately one year after a CPT prison visit. The objective is it illustrate how prisoners and prison staff feel about CPT recommendations and to explore how they perceive the value of the CPT; that is, do they think the CPT has a positive impact on the prison? Indeed, the assumption is that human rights treaty monitoring bodies, such as the CPT, are beneficial to the advancement of human rights, yet the impact of of monitoring activities on those people and institutions who interact with them, and those who do not, is not clear. This paper contributes to the project of centering the experiences and opinions of those most impacted by human rights monitoring, in this case, prisoners and prison staff.
European Research Council (ERC)
Author: O'Connell, Ciara
Type of material:Report
Availability:Full text available