17 April 2020

PC-CP (2020) 5

COVID-19 RELATED STATEMENT
BY THE MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL FOR PENOLOGICAL CO-OPERATION
WORKING GROUP (PC-CP WG)
The Council for Penological Co-operation Working Group, in co-operation with the European Organisation of
Prison and Correctional Services (EuroPris) and the Confederation of European Probation (CEP) wishes to draw
the attention to some important texts issued by the Council of Europe in recent days as well as to standards
and practices which may assist the prison and probation services and other criminal justice agencies of the
Council of Europe member States in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, respecting the principles of the rule
of law and of human rights.
I.

II.

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The Council for Penological Co-operation Working Group (PC-CP WG) members welcome, fully support
and draw the attention of the Directors of the prison and probation services of the Council of Europe
member States to:
a.

The Council of Europe Secretary General’s Toolkit for member States “Respecting democracy,
rule of law and human rights in the framework of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis”
(Doc. SG/Inf(2020)11 of 7 April 2020);

b.

The Statement of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights made on 6 April 2020:
“COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe”;

c.

The CPT “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty
in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic” (Doc. CPT/Inf(2020)13 of
20 March 2020).

The PC-CP WG would also like to remind the Directors of the prison services of the Council of Europe
member States of some key principles and recommendations contained in the European Prison Rules
(2006) as well as in the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations n° R(93)6 concerning prison and
criminological aspects of the control of transmissible diseases including Aids and related health
problems in prison and n° R (98) 7 concerning the ethical and organisational aspects of health care in
prison (see the Compendium of all relevant texts) which could be summarised in a few points and
should provide guidance when facing the COVID-19 pandemic by the prison services in full respect of
the fundamental rights and freedoms as safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights1:


There should be medical examination on entry into prison of each inmate, subject to the
requirements of medical confidentiality, in order to detect inter alia intercurrent diseases,
including treatable infectious diseases;



Each inmate should have access to a doctor or a fully qualified nurse without undue delay and
without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation;

See also the Guide on the case-law of the European Convention on Human Rights - Prisoners’ rights.

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Select target paragraph3