HomePrisons of Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany : Questioning Prison Violence

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, October 09, 2019 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

Almost twenty years after the European Court of Human Rights affirmed the right to decent conditions of detention, has this aspiration for a violence-free sentence succeeded in counteracting operation modes usually described as inherent to prison? Has the European project for common minimum standards succeeded in overcoming national penological conceptions and professional cultures, in other words overcoming the historical inertia of prison? What resistance/adaptation strategies have deployed prison administrations in response to these reform injunctions? In view of these experiences, what are the ways out of prison violence? Can civil society actors force these transformations? In particular, can lawyers help maintaining vigilance? The Seminar is held as part of the European Lawyers' Day and will bring together former detainees, researchers, civil society leaders and lawyers to discuss the issue of prison violence as is manifest in Western (Germany, France) and Eastern former soviet (Russia, Ukraine) European prison systems.

Announcement

Argument

The contemporary prison is caught in a dense network of interventions by control bodies and binding international standards, which primary purpose are to prevent violations of the integrity of the detained persons, whether these are from the side of prison staff, due to confrontations between prisoners, or even to security management systems.

Almost twenty years after the European Court of Human Rights affirmed the right to decent conditions of detention, has this aspiration for a violence-free sentence succeeded in counteracting operation modes usually described as inherent to prison? Has the European project for common minimum standards succeeded in overcoming national penological conceptions and professional cultures, in other words overcoming the historical inertia of prison? What resistance/adaptation strategies have deployed prison administrations in response to these reform injunctions? In view of these experiences, what are the ways out of prison violence? Can civil society actors force these transformations? In particular, can lawyers help maintaining vigilance?

The Seminar is held as part of the European Lawyers' Day and will bring together former detainees, researchers, civil society leaders and lawyers to discuss the issue of prison violence as is manifest in Western (Germany, France) and Eastern former soviet (Russia, Ukraine) European prison systems.

In Ukraine and Russia, the seminar will aim at discussing the respective trajectories of the prison reforms carried out in the countries and to question the capacity they have had to break with the legacy of the Gulag. In what form does prison violence manifest? How does the prison subculture, traditionally associated with a rigid system of castes and informal rules which divides the system between "red" prisons (controlled by prison staff and their henchmen) and "black" prisons (controlled by prison banditry) manifest itself today? Considering the different political and social contexts of the two countries, how do human rights defenders manage to combat abuses and the very punitive rationality of the criminal justice system? A special attention will be given to prisons in the territories of Eastern Ukraine outside government control (LNR and DNR), as they appear to be a blindspot for the rule of law and democratic control.

In contrast, Western prisons have long been governed by policies marked by a strict prohibition of physical violence, and sometimes even by a humanitarian ethos that condemns any form of suffering in the execution of the sentence. Seen from the East, they are often seen as a model to follow. But does such a paradigm not reflect to some extent the disconnection between the discourse on prisoners' rights and the ordinary reality of prisons? Despite health and material efforts, do security and management imperatives assigned to the prison administration and the absence in prison of any space for conflict condemn the system to deploy forms of violence, which, although more diffuse and/or of a symbolic nature, nevertheless damage the person who is subjected to them? How does prison in a democratic society governed by the rule of law deal with the violence that is expressed inside on a daily basis? From this point of view, do recent public policies that massively direct prison action towards the detection and treatment of violent extremism not mark a radicalisation of the security approach, assuming a certain degree of institutional violence in the name of the necessary risk management?

Program

25 October 2019

15.30 Opening        

  • Johannes Feest, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Bremen

Questioning prison violence: introduction words

  • Hugues de Suremain, EPLN

Introduction words from RAV e.V. – words on the European Lawyers’ Day

  • Ursula Groos, Lawyer at the Berlin Bar, RAV e.V.

16.00 

Panel 1 – Actors and mobilizations for the protection of prisoners’ rights

Moderator: Christine Graebsch, Professor at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Organisation of associations in Russia in the context of the withdrawal of access to prisons

  • Sviatoslav Khromenkov, Executive Director of the NGO Siberia without Torture

The role of NGOs in protecting prisoners rights: the example of the situation of detainees with infectious diseases in Ukraine"

  • Olexand Pavlichenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union 

The rise of the mobilization of lawyers in France

  • Benoît David, President of NGO Ban Public, Board member of EPLN, Association A3D

Perspectives in Germany from the lawyers' side

  • Ria Halbritter, Member of the Board of the Association of Berlin Criminal Defenders (Vereinigung Berliner Strafverteidiger e.V.)

Discussion (30 min)

17.50 Break

18.10

Panel 2 - The institutional approach to prison dangerosity in Western countries

Moderator : Nikolaï Schur, director of the NGO Ural Human Rights Defender

Detection and treatment of violent extremism in France,

  • David Scheer, postdoctoral researcher at Université Libre de Bruxelles /CLERSE Lille, France

Psychiatry involved in the management of prison dangerousness: a departure from care

  • Christine Graebsch, Professor at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Discussion (30 min)

19.50 End

26 October 2019

9.00 

Ex-Soviet prisons: between attempts to break with the past and resistance to reforms

Moderator : Prof. Kirstin Drenkhahn, Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin

The legacy of the Gulag in post-Soviet prison system: violence as a structuring mode of social relations in prisons in Russia.

  • Asmik Novikova, Director of Research at the Public Verdict Foundation

Castes, "rules", "red" prisons and "black" prisons, what about the prison subculture in Russia today?

  • Aleksey Sokolov, Executive director of the NGO Legal Basis

Moves under way to prison reform in Ukraine

  • Gennady Tokarev, Director of the Strategic litigation center at the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Discussion (30 min)

10.30  Break

10.50  

A blind spot in Europe : the prison system in the separatist territories of Donbass

Moderator: Ilya Ilya Nuzov, Head of the Eastern Europe-Central Asia Desk, FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights, TBC

How do operate prisons in in the separatist territories of Donbass

  • Valeriya Lutkovska, Director of the Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights, former Ombudsperson Ukraine

How to monitor the situation in in the separatist territories of Donbass

  • Anna Ovdienko, lawyer at the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

How to monitor the situation in Donbass

  • Natalyia Novakova, German-Russian Exchange (Deutsch-Russisch Austausch) (tbc)

man Rights Union tbc

Discussion (30 min)

14.30

Structural causes of violence in German prisons

Moderator : Olga Romanova, Executive director of NGO “Russia Behind Bars”

Violence and experiences of injustice in the German (juvenile) penal system

  • Holger Schmidt, Professor at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Title?

  • Dr. Sarah Teweleit, LL.M., Lawyer, Research Associate, German National Agency for the Prevention of Torture

Title?

  • Prof. Kirstin Drenkhahn, Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin

Discussion (30 min)

16.20 Break

16.30  

What are the possible responses to prison violence?

Moderator: J. Feest, Professor at the University of Bremen

The impossible conflictualization as a factor of violence: can the word be freed in prison?

  • Joël Charbit, postdoctoral researcher at CLERSE Lille, France

Can the opening to the outside world and the principle of normalization counteract the rationalities of the prison?  

  • Marie-Sophie Devresse, Professeur at Université catholique de Louvain

The fight against impunity in prison

  • Roman Kashanov, President of the Interregional Human Rights Center   

Discussion (30 min)

Subjects

Places

  • 25 October (16:00 to 20:00): Law Faculty, Bebelplatz 2, Seminar room 144; 26 October (9:00 to 17:00) Main Building, Unter den Linden 6, Seminar room 2093 - Humboldt University
    Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany

Date(s)

  • Friday, October 25, 2019
  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

Contact(s)

  • Julia Krikorian
    courriel : julia [dot] krikorian [at] prisonlitigation [dot] org

Information source

  • hugues de suremain
    courriel : hugues [dot] de-suremain [at] prisonlitigation [dot] org

To cite this announcement

« Prisons of Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany : Questioning Prison Violence », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, October 09, 2019, https://calenda.org/686341

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal