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Monitoring prison conditions in the EU: a handbook series for national preventive mechanisms

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Váltás magyarra

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee contributed as a project partner to the EU-funded project “Improving judicial cooperation across the EU through harmonised detention standards – The role of National Preventive Mechanisms” (2019–2021) coordinated by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights. Additional project partners were the Associazione Antigone and the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. The project aimed to address how NPMs can effectively improve detention conditions across the EU.

Based on extensive consultations with EU NPMs and other stakeholders, the two-year project resulted in the publication of a series of handbooks for National Preventive Mechanisms covering four thematic issues:

  • Monitoring prison violence – by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights
  • Monitoring solitary confinement in prison – by Associazione Antigone
  • Prisoners in a situation of vulnerability – by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
  • Complaint procedures and the right to information in prisons – by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee

The series is further complemented by a Dossier on systemic thinking in preventive human rights monitoring by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights.

Overall, the project focused on clarifying and consolidating existing standards on the rights of persons in detention as well as supporting NPMs in enhancing their impact in preventing torture or ill-treatment and, ultimately, contribute to better prison conditions in the EU.

To reach a wider audience, the key arguments and facts from the handbooks were also recast in the form of Briefing Papers and short informative videos on the four thematic research areas.


Briefing papers

Informative videos


The project is funded by the European Union.


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Hungarian Helsinki Committee