This research project will seek to analyze the implementation of the recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) in the German prison system. Methods of implementation and the effectiveness of the recommendations will be covered, as too will the cooperation (or lack thereof) displayed by Germany in the area of prisoner rights. The aim of the project is to provide suggestions to optimize the implementation procedures.

Ob­ject of re­search

The CPT is man­dated to vis­it pris­ons and ex­am­ine the treat­ment of per­sons de­prived of their liberty with a view to strength­en­ing, if ne­ces­sary, the pro­tec­tion of such per­sons from tor­ture and from in­hu­man or de­grad­ing treat­ment or pun­ish­ment (Art­icle 1, European Con­ven­tion for the Pre­ven­tion of Tor­ture and In­hu­man or De­grad­ing Treat­ment of Pun­ish­ment). Ger­many has been vis­ited by the CPT on four sep­ar­ate oc­ca­sions (plus one ad hoc vis­it to the hold­ing fa­cil­it­ies for im­mig­ra­tion de­tain­ees at Frank­furt Air­port). Dur­ing each of these vis­its vari­ous in­sti­tu­tions such as pris­ons, po­lice sta­tions, hold­ing fa­cil­it­ies for im­mig­ra­tion de­tain­ees, and psy­chi­at­ric hos­pit­als were ex­amined. The present pro­ject is lim­ited to the CPT vis­its to Ger­man pris­ons.

Need for re­search

Ger­many is widely re­cog­nized for its strong stance on hu­man rights, both at home and abroad. The ques­tion is: does this re­flect its stance with re­gard to the CPT? A num­ber of stud­ies pro­duced in the 1990s tend to sug­gest that at that time, most re­search­ers were not of the opin­ion that Ger­many ac­ted as a par­tic­u­larly co­oper­at­ive part­ner. Since then, the in­flu­ence of the CPT has however markedly in­creased, so that a change in the co­oper­at­ive re­la­tion­ship between it and Ger­many may have oc­curred. It is for this reas­on that an up to date ana­lys­is of the cur­rent situ­ation is ne­ces­sary.


Meth­od­o­lo­gic­ally, the pro­ject will fo­cus on the use of Im­ple­ment­a­tion Re­search. This can be used to eval­u­ate the ef­fect­ive­ness of polit­ic­al pro­grams, such as the CPT re­com­mend­a­tions, and demon­strate that their im­ple­ment­a­tion has less to do with the ‘ini­ti­at­or’ and more to do with the ad­min­is­trat­ive sup­port af­forded to the re­com­mend­a­tions by the in­ten­ded tar­get-group. As such, im­ple­ment­a­tion pro­cesses will be ana­lyzed to see how they can be im­proved. To this end, a qual­it­at­ive con­tent ana­lys­is of the CPT Re­ports will be con­duc­ted in or­der to cat­egor­ize the vari­ous re­com­mend­a­tions. These cat­egor­ies will then be cross-ref­er­enced with gov­ern­ment­al doc­u­ments to ex­am­ine the Ger­man re­sponses to the re­com­mend­a­tions. Fur­ther in­form­a­tion is in­ten­ded to be ob­tained from aca­dem­ic re­search pa­pers and doc­u­ments. In ad­di­tion, a series of ex­pert in­ter­views will also be car­ried out with rep­res­ent­at­ives from the Ger­man pris­on sys­tem to as­cer­tain fur­ther in­form­a­tion on the find­ings provided by the writ­ten ma­ter­i­als.

Aim of the pro­ject

The aim of the pro­ject is to re­view the ef­fect­ive­ness of the CPT re­com­mend­a­tions and look at the will­ing­ness of Ger­many to im­ple­ment them. It is hoped that the find­ings will be used to op­tim­ize the pro­ced­ures of the CPT and, in so do­ing, also serve as a blue­print for sim­il­ar hu­man rights mech­an­isms such as the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion Against Tor­ture and Oth­er Cruel, In­hu­man or De­grad­ing Treat­ment or Pun­ish­ment. At the same time, the stand­ards of the Ger­man pris­on sys­tem will also be ex­amined in light of the CPT re­com­mend­a­tions and find­ings.