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Description - Principles of European Prison Law and Policy by Dirk van Zyl Smit

In recent years European prison law and policy have emerged as a force to be reckoned with. This book explores its development and analyses the penological and human rights foundations on which it is based. It examines the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the recommendations of the Council of Europe, and the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. From these sources it makes the general principles that underlie European prison law and policy explicit, emphasising the principle of using imprisonment as a last resort and the recognition of prisoners' rights. The book then moves on to apply these principles to conditions of imprisonment, regimes in prison, contacts between prisoners and the outside world, and the maintenance of good order in prisons. The final chapter of the book considers how European prison law and policy could best be advanced in future. The authors argue that the European Court of Human Rights should adopt a more proactive approach to ensuring that imprisonment is used only as a last resort, and that a more radical interpretation of the existing provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights will allow it to do so. It concludes that the growing cooperation on prison matters within Europe bodes well for the increased recognition of prisoners' rights across Europe. In spite of some countervailing voices, Europe should increasingly be able to give an international lead in a human rights approach to prison law and policy in the same way it has done with the abolition of the death penalty.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199228430
ISBN-10: 0199228434
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 164mm x 31mm)
Pages: 488
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 8-Jan-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Dirk van Zyl Smit

Dirk van Zyl Smit is Professor of Comparative and International Penal Law at the University of Nottingham. He has advised the governments of South Africa, Malawi and Bosnia and Herzegovina on new prison legislation. He acted as expert adviser to the Council of Europe on the new European Prison Rules and the forthcoming Rules on Juvenile Offenders subject to Sanctions and Measures, and to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime for its Handbook on Alternatives to Imprisonment. Sonja Snacken is Professor of Criminology, Penology and Sociology of Law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Professor at the Universiteit Gent. She is President of the Council for Penological Cooperation of the Council of Europe and acts as an expert for the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. She was awarded the Francqui Chair at the Universite Catholique de Louvain for the academic year 2008-2009.

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