Gunda Wössner, senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, has been elected as German member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2021-2025). Dr. Wössner, who holds a doctorate in psychology, has been conducting research on sexual and violent crime for decades and is a recognized expert in the fields of offender treatment and crime trajectories.
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) is an independent monitoring body that is part of the Council of Europe (CoE) and its 47 member states. The CoE’s Committee of Ministers elects one member for each member state. The members are independent and impartial experts from many different disciplines, including the fields of justice, medicine, and psychology.
CPT members regularly visit places of detention in CoE member states, such as police stations, prisons, juvenile detention centers, immigration detention centers, psychiatric hospitals, and social care homes. The visits are of a strictly preventive nature. The CPT carries out approximately 20 such visits each year. After each visit to a country, the CPT delegation meets with the responsible ministers or with other high-ranking government representatives in order to relay its findings to them. The European Union frequently refers to the CPT’s observations and recommendations when drafting legislation. As recently as December 2020, a delegation toured Germany and visited, inter alia, the prisons in Freiburg and St. Georgen-Bayreuth, Munich police headquarters, the women’s prison in Berlin, a clinic for forensic psychiatry in Hamburg, and the Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen police departments. Visiting delegations have already been to Sweden and Turkey this year.