Many Caritas Europa member organisations visit prisoners, help to improve their detention conditions and their reintegration into society. Our Caritas network have brought together this expertise and experience in the Prison-Justice Network, which conducted a survey among prisoners, and pooled promising practices all over Europe in matters of self-determination. The goal is to contribute to policy making aimed at better protecting the human dignity of prisoners, their social rights in and after prison, and their full reintegration into society.
Based on the results of that survey, this Caritas Europa position paper wants to promote the concept of self-determination throughout the network as well as towards national and European policy makers, and formulates a set of recommendations targeting the Council of Europe and the European Union Institutions.
For Caritas, the key factor to protect prisoners’ dignity and for their successful reintegration into society is to promote their self–determination. Promoting self-determination in prisons is much more effective than traditional repressive methods. Self-determination can be practiced in compliance with the goals of the prison system and is known to help reduce recidivism. Caritas Europa is convinced that self-determination is integral to human dignity and must be available to everybody.