European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) CPT/Inf(2001)16-part Developments concerning CPT standards in respect of imprisonment Extract from the 11th General Report of the CPT, published in 2001 25. Almost a decade has elapsed since the CPT described, in its 2nd General Report, some of the main issues pursued by the Committee when visiting prison establishments. In the meantime, the Committee has carried out more than 100 visits and the number of Parties to the Convention has practically doubled. Naturally, the CPT’s standards in respect of imprisonment have gradually evolved, in the light of the new situations encountered and the experience gathered. The CPT intends, progressively, to draw up updated descriptions of its standards in all areas falling within its mandate. For the time being, the CPT would like, in this section of its 11th General Report, to highlight a miscellany of issues in the area of prison matters which are of particular current concern to the Committee and, no doubt, to those responsible for prison administration and to other interested circles throughout Europe. Staff-prisoner relations 26. The cornerstone of a humane prison system will always be properly recruited and trained prison staff who know how to adopt the appropriate attitude in their relations with prisoners and see their work more as a vocation than as a mere job. Building positive relations with prisoners should be recognised as a key feature of that vocation. Regrettably, the CPT often finds that relations between staff and prisoners are of a formal and distant nature, with staff adopting a regimented attitude towards prisoners and regarding verbal communication with them as a marginal aspect of their work. The following practices frequently witnessed by the CPT are symptomatic of such an approach: obliging prisoners to stand facing a wall whilst waiting for prison staff to attend to them or for visitors to pass by; requiring prisoners to bow their heads and keep their hands clasped behind their back when moving within the establishment; custodial staff carrying their truncheons in a visible and even provocative manner. Such practices are unnecessary from a security standpoint and will do nothing to promote positive relations between staff and prisoners. The real professionalism of prison staff requires that they should be able to deal with prisoners in a decent and humane manner while paying attention to matters of security and good order. In this regard prison management should encourage staff to have a reasonable sense of trust and expectation that prisoners are willing to behave themselves properly. The development of constructive and positive relations between prison staff and prisoners will not only reduce the risk of ill-treatment but also enhance control and security. In turn, it will render the work of prison staff far more rewarding.

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