Online Training
B-COMPETENT: Background information

In the framework of increasingly multi-ethnic correctional settings, where language and cultural barriers faced by Foreign Nationals pose significant challenges to prison systems, penitentiary staff play a pivotal role to ensure human rights protection and fair treatment of prisoners, preventing episodes of radicalization and extremism.

The European project B-COMPETENT (2019-21), co-funded by the Justice Programme, aims to provide prison civilian staff with a set of multidisciplinary skills related to human rights protection. The focus will be on foreign inmates’ special needs and rights, in line with EU and international laws and standards

Training Program: Objectives
  • To set up a standardized training methodology in EU countries, Albania and Montenegro, designed to provide prison civilian staff with a set of juridical and operational skills to deal with foreign prisoners and to meet their needs and rights in their daily work
  • To build capacity of prison staff trainers, enabling them to gain multidisciplinary competencies on cultural-mediation, psychological, ethic, sociological and security-related aspects concerning the treatment of foreign prisoners.
  • To increase knowledge and awareness among prison civilian staff about national/EU law and practices, regional and international human rights law and CoE standards focused on the treatment of ethnic minorities in prison.

The course is mainly targeted to:

  • prison managers
  • prison administrative staff
  • prison staff trainers
  • prison civilian staff (forensic psychologists, social assistants, educators, social workers, cultural mediators, interpreters, etc.)
  • prison officers
  • all those responsible for working with Foreign Nationals in prison.
E-learning course: key features

The e-learning course will provide useful insights into legislative frameworks and key aspects of the management of Foreign Nationals in prison: European standards in the work with foreign inmates, right to access to justice and other rights (communications, health), conditions of detained women with minor children, access to penitentiary work, restorative justice, to mention some of the most relevant issues.

Key features:

  • 10 modules (10 h of video recorded lessons)
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Albanian, English, French, Greek, Italian, Montenegrin and Spanish.
  • The online modules can be done in full or selecting the video-lessons of interest.
  • Multiple choice test on completion of each module.
  • Free access to training tools and resources: PPT slides (English), biblio-sitography, relevant articles/publications.
  • A statement of participation will be issued upon request.
The concepts of "immigration" and "international protection"
Ermonela Xhafa | Commissioner at Avokati I Popullit | Albania

The increased movement of people from one country to another has led to an ever growing number of foreigners being held in prisons. The international community's approach toward the treatment of foreign prisoners has evolved into formal recognition of basic prisoners' rights. These rights orient application of basic principles of treatment to prisoners and prison conditions, and seek an active role of the national and regional monitoring bodies in denouncing human rights violations. 

This module paves the way to discussions about key terminology about foreign prisoners, the understanding of international legal instruments protecting the rights of Foreign Prisoners and it potentiates the State’s responsibility in case of a violation.  Furthermore, the module deals with the opportunity to pursue and realize the rights of prisoners regardless of the mechanisms that exist in each State. 

Main objectives:

  1. To promote awareness that foreigners are vulnerable persons who are likely to face increased difficulties and discrimination in prison;
  2. To improve understanding of the specific rights to which foreigners in prison are entitled;
  3. To increase the ability of those responsible for the care of Foreign Prisoners to address difficulties that are likely to arise during the detention of foreigners.


International protection: ECtHR, Court of Justice of the EU and UN HRC
Heliona Miço | PhD Lecturer of Law at “Epoka University” of Tirana | Albania

The module deals with the nature and the dimensions of human rights of prisoners sanctioned in the international instruments focusing to foreign prisoners, associating with the state obligations toward implementation of these rights and the competences and role of international institutions that serve to enhance the rights of prisoners. The objective of the module is to provide an overview of international legal instruments protecting the rights of prisoners, the conditions of exercise of rights and freedoms of foreign prisoners and the state obligations as a legal reserve. Furthermore, the module deals with the opportunity to pursue and to implement the rights of prisoners regardless of the mechanisms that exist in each state. All these elements are particularly important to train civilian prison staff with the wide range of human rights sanctions for prisoners, especially foreign prisoners.

Regulation of the administrative situation of non-nationals
Antonella Croce | University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” - Department of Law | Italy

This Module deals with the general administrative procedures to activate, as far as persons coming from third countries enter the European Union space. This lesson analyses the contents of the Dublin Convention and, specifically, the Italian rules concerning the acceptance of immigrants, focusing on the protection of their fundamental rights.

International and European standards in the work with foreign inmates
Federica Brioschi | Researcher at Associazione Antigone | Italy

The UNODC Handbook on Prisoners with special needs contains a chapter on foreign inmates and highlights the many disadvantages that Foreign Nationals have to face when they encounter the criminal justice system. The handbook also points out that often “cooperation between immigration authorities and prison administrations is inadequate in many countries” and that sometimes “prison staff are not trained to assist with immigration issues and cannot respond to the needs of such prisoners”.

Therefore, in the work with foreign inmates, it can be useful to consider some international standards that can offer guidance in this regard. The training module focuses on staff ethics and professionality and on the training that it is recommended to have in the work with foreign inmates.

Religious freedom and imprisonment. Part 1: General features
Antonella Croce | University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” - Department of Law | Italy

The present module deals with the analysis of religious freedom related to imprisonment status. After an initial overview of what religious freedom means, the lesson will proceed in the specific examination of the various norms of Constitutions, Conventions and Treaties and statutes, which deal with the protection of this fundamental right (particularly, the Italian Constitution and penitentiary law,the Charter Of Fundamental Rights Of The European Union, European Convention of Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), jointly with the most relevant case-law. 

Subsequently, the module will show how this fundamental right is protected inside prisons, particularly for foreign detainees who belong to minorities. The national authorities are required to respect prisoners’ freedom of thought, conscience and religion by refraining from any unjustified interference and taking positive action to facilitate the free exercise of those rights, having regard to the particular requirements of the prison environment.

Religious freedom and imprisonment (Part 2): Radicalisation
Antonella Croce | University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” - Department of Law | Italy

It is a notorious fact that the intensification of migration flows determined an increase of the number ofForeign Nationals in prison across the Europe. This circumstance, besides the other issues linked to the implementation of a multicultural prison, is not irrelevant on the side of the possible outbreaks of phenomenon of radicalisation in prison. In fact, a connection could be highlighted between the religious beliefs and the spread of the radicalisation, in the circumstance that a fundamentalism view of religious matters can lead to the strengthening of terrorist intentions. Furthermore, a premise for debating on this topic is the distinction between religion and belief since the art. 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights expressly refers to the freedom to manifest in various forms and change someone’s“religion or belief”. Even though apparently the distinction exists, the European Court of Human Rights’ and Commission’s jurisprudence avoided addressing the issue. However, the distinction might be useful in the present lesson to analyse the interconnection between religion, beliefs ad radicalisation, in the prison environment. Finally, the attention will be addressed to the possible rehabilitation of radicalised prisoners. 

The right to access to justice in equal terms – General Part
Federica Brioschi | Researcher at Associazione Antigone | Italy

For detained Foreign Nationals access to legal advice and assistance can be more complicated than for detained citizens. One of the reasons is the language barrier but also the lack of knowledge of the criminal justice system or the lack of knowledge about their rights during the trial. During their detention they might encounter problems regarding prison treatment that is often not tailored for foreign inmates and that might lack opportunities for them.

The objective of the module is to provide a brief overview of detainees’ rights during the first phases of their trial (procedural rights in the criminal justice system) and during their detention in respect to the regime they should be subjected to (and the prison treatment) and the specific aspects of education and training in prison.

The right to access to justice and other rights – Part 1: Communication and health
Alejandro Forero Cuellar | Associate Professor at University of Barcelona - OSPDH | Spain

Foreign prisoners face a greater risk of isolation due to different reasons: distance from their families of origin that in many cases live abroad, lack or scarcity of personal relations with and support from the external world, language barriers, to mention some of the most relevant causes. For those reasons, communications should be reinforced and delivered under a principle of flexibility. Health attention, both physical and mental should also be provided in equal terms than the rest of inmates and should deal with special needs. Prison staff play a central role in the daily life of inmates and an important part of its work is to provide the material and informational conditions necessary for prisoners to exercise their rights. In this regard, training programmes for prison staff should include international and regional human rights standards to guarantee that these rights are fulfilled and to ensure a more respectful human rights environment both for inmates and staff.

This module aims to address the peculiarities that the work with foreign inmates should have regarding:

  • right to communication and personal relations with the external world, family and consular representatives.
  • right to health (mental and physical)
The right to access to justice and other rights – Part 2: Women & children; Work
Monica Aranda Ocaña | Professor at University of Barcelona - OSPDH | Spain

The present module deals with the situation of Women in European prisons, the situations of discrimination that they suffer, and the special situation of those women deprived of liberty who take care of their minor children. Likewise, this Module will try to show the regulation related to productive work that prisoners can develop in prison with special attention to the situation of foreign prisoners. This module also analyses possible impediments to access it. The objective of the module is to provide a panoramic view of the situations indicated, as well as the indication of the European normative base that has been dedicated to these matters

Conflict Theory - Alternative Conflict Resolution
Antonella Croce | University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” - Department of Law | Italy

Knowledge in the field of restorative justice is intended to guarantee that the execution of the sentence takes place in such a way as to ensure the rehabilitation of the prisoners, safeguarding their fundamental rights.

Module 10 deals with the analysis of the alternative method of resolution of conflicts. The objective of the lesson is to provide an exhaustive overview and knowledge in the field of the restorative justice, as an alternative method to solve disagreements both between inmates and their victims and among detainees and prison staff within penitentiaries. Furthermore, the module analyzes the various programs to implement such conciliatory procedures, inside prisons as well. All these elements are particularly important to best assure the rehabilitation process of detainees, in the view of their reintegration into society.