The Importance of Dialogue and Co-operation in Prison Oversight

Dr. Silvia Casale, the then-President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), discusses the role that supranational treaty bodies such as the United Nation’s Subcommittee on Prevention Against Torture (SPT) play in monitoring conditions in European prisons. These oversight bodies, which are neutral observers with access to places of detention throughout Europe, must build trust and rely on cooperation with corrections officials and state government leaders in order to fulfill a goal of preventing future abuse. They accomplish this goal by steering away from laying blame and working towards finding solutions to problems. The essay also highlights that reports written by the CPT and SPT about these conditions are confidential, but that most countries publish the reports on their own volition.