16 December 2020

Human rights of Foreign National Prisoners: newly released report on training needs assessment of prison staff in 6 countries

The international report just released by the EU-funded project B-COMPETENT highlights weak spots, best practices and training needs of prison staff with regard to human rights protection in multi-ethnic penitentiary contexts.


The research, elaborated by the University of Barcelona-OSPDH, stems from the national reports and surveys carried on by Partner organizations in Albania, France, Greece, Italy, Montenegro and Spain from February to October 2020 within the EU-funded project “B-COMPETENT. Boosting competences in penitentiary staff in Europe”. 


The National Reports employed a methodological framework based on: 1) desk analysis of existing training programs; 2) online and offline surveys targeting prison authorities, prison managers, prison staff and front line prison civilian staff; 3) focus groups. 


Albania - The main training needs highlighted in Albania’s country report are: i) limited number of civilian staff and interpreters; ii) the continuous training is mainly targeted at uniformed bodies in prisons, while civil staff training is not a structured practice. A dedicated fund for interpreters should be provided in order to support foreign national prisoners. The trainers are professionals, but the training programmes are not regularly revised and it causes training contents and curricula overlapping.

France - General lack of proper training indicates that staff training on the issue of foreign national prisoners is meagre. The prison administration in France receives assistance from external organizations such as La Cimade, which provides assistance and advice to foreign prisoners. There is no evidence of a solid targeted approach towards foreign national prisoners in staff training practice.

Greece - The prison administrative staff, including civil staff are university or post-secondary education degree holders, who are appointed without getting any training with regard to the penitentiary system, its administration, the social organization of prisons, prison staff professional role, ethics, etc. The length of training has been continuously reduced due to lack of resources, while some officers have not attended any courses, as the training school is not a permanent structure.

Italy – The educational training is mostly addressed to penitentiary police, due to the prevalence of uniformed staff with respect to educational workers. Trainings formally include notions about prisoners’ basic rights and best practices in everyday life in prison, but multicultural knowledge and skills are not properly addressed.

Montenegro - The issues of non-compulsory nature of the training courses and the scarcity of their offer are particularly evident in Montenegro, where the following gaps have been underlined by interviewees: i) prison staff do not attend trainings before entering into duty; ii) there is no specific staff appointed to work with the foreign prisoners; iii) lack of training about the rights of foreign prisoners, cultural diversities and foreign prisoners’ special needs.

Spain - Since 2002, the prison services of Catalonia have pursued structural, organizational and socio-educational improvements to meet the needs of FNPs. CEJFE offers one online training on migration issues targeting prison management units, but the course addresses legal issues only. In 2020, among the training offer, there is no course focused on how to deal with foreign inmates.

Key recommendations


1. Foreign inmates should have the possibility to learn a language that will enable them to communicate more effectively;

2. Foreign prisoners should be granted appropriate access to interpretation and translation facilities. Similarly, crucial documents/ information on prison regulations, rights and duties of inmates should exist and be freely available and easily accessible in many languages, taking into account the country of origin of foreign prisoners;

3. Some prison workers should be specifically trained to work with foreign inmates. A central office, responsible to deal with foreign inmates’ special needs and problems and to solve conflicts, should be crated in each prison;

4. Prison workers should undertake sufficient training with regards to:

(a) international and internal standards and regulations on foreigners’ rights, and the special care and attention for especial needs in context of deprivation of liberty;

(b) mechanisms to take into account the social, familiar and cultural context of the foreign inmates.



Full report  

Press release

National Reports


Contact us: info@bcompetent.eu

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