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Proliferation and Implementation of Prison Ombudsmen

Comparative Analysis of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales and the Justizvollzugsbeauftragter des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen


Sabine Carl

Prison ombudsmen are charged with investigating claims of injustice and breaches of human rights within the total institutions of the penal system. This book comprehensively explains which needs these institutions were intended to meet, why they spread around the globe and how their proliferation determined their implementation. Using a grounded theory approach, the author examines one subject each from both the common and civil law world. The result is a detailed analysis of the acute impact of pressure on cross-fertilization processes involving human rights-sensitive penal institutions.


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B Current state of research


The current state of research operationalizes the technical terms used in this study. This operationalization entails three parts. First, the ombudsman concept is examined. This includes definitions and descriptions of both ombudsman in generaliter and executive ombudsman in specialiter. The operationalization of the technical term prison ombudsman comes next. The third section on learning process explains the concept of cross-fertilization. I. The ombudsman as a concept This study focuses on prison ombudsmen. In order to properly analyse their im- plementation modes, the term “ombudsman” must be operationalized by estab- lishing as precise a definition as possible. Only a precise definition allows the identification of the aims against which to compare prison ombudsmen. However, the availability of such a definition is historically impaired by the spread of the ombudsman idea, which, once it left its Scandinavian crib, may effortlessly be compared to a highly contagious disease aptly named Ombuds- mania.31 The sheer speed of this idea’s diversification left academia struggling to keep up.32 The resulting discrepancy between the factual proliferation of om- budsmen and their methodical academic assessment remains the source of many an academic disagreement on whether a new development was a valid extension or an off-shoot outside the conceptual borders. Indeed, no commonly accepted definition is currently available for the term. The method applied in this study has led this researcher to examine multiple definitions and – when none was found to suit the purpose of this study – create a new one. This definition, which has already been outlined in...

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