Jean Monnet Network on enforcement of EU law (EULEN)

YRP Projects

Prisons in Europe, Europe in Prisons (by Christos Papachristopoulos)

Christos’ research explores the necessity, feasibility and desirability of EU action on national prison systems. Traditionally, the governance of detention has belonged to the sovereign state. Prisons across Europe present, therefore, considerable disparities; in many states, penal systems are struggling with structural deficiencies, which result in systemic human rights violations. This reality directly undermines the notion of the EU as a community of values; in turn, the functioning of the Union as an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, based on mutual trust between peers, is at risk. Departing from the negative consequences of the status quo of prisons in Europe, my contribution assesses the potential of Europe in prisons. The overarching premise revolves around the thesis that, to ensure the effective enforcement of Union values and policies, EU intervention in national prison systems proves necessary. Towards this purpose, the analysis describes potential pathways, upon which EU authorities could potentially tread upon, in order to mitigate existing disparities, and effectively enforce a common standard on detention. Consequently, the analysis moves on to consider the potential impact and pitfalls that the future of Europe in prisons may hold.


Christos Papachristopoulos –

University of Birmingham, School of Law