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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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This chapter draws on the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales and the Ombudsmann für den Justizvollzug Nordrhein-Westfalen as two examples of prison ombudsmen. The analysis of these subjects is sub-divided into a country survey aimed at depicting the specific legal and factual environ- ment of these institutions and an analysis of the process of the legal introduction thereof. The subsequent synthesis includes conclusions drawn from the discus- sion about the proliferation and implementation in general. In order to demon- strate the extendibility of the concept, the chapter also includes a brief overview of further ombudsinstitutions not studied here. I. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales as the longer standing institution will be described first. This is done in the hope of reducing the national bias of the researcher by allowing for a fresher, less biased perspec- tive on “the other” in an attempt to approach a neutral position. 1. Country survey This section sets out to describe the institutional setting of the Prisons and Pro- bation Ombudsman for England and Wales within its home country. The infor- mation provided will outline the current state of research on the institution and offer a brief overview of the history of imprisonment in the UK as well as the British and Welsh inmate population and their characteristics. A short explana- tion of the legal basis of imprisonment and the current prison organisation will follow with special attention...

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