Zero tolerance policies in the United Kingdom and Greece : can the European human rights instruments counter the impact of a cause of prison overcrowding?

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Lazana, Aikaterini
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In the late 1990’s the zero tolerance approach to crime was employed in some European States. At the same time, in a number of countries, imprisonment and overcrowding rates increased, affecting every aspect of prison life. However, there appears to be a paradox in the European situation: during the same period, Human Rights Instruments were in function, which were designed to require from states to promote and protect prisoners’ rights. The question arising is how and if it is possible to reconcile those two tendencies: more prisoners’ rights at the European level and stricter measures imposed at the national level. In fact, as this thesis will demonstrate, using the United Kingdom and Greece as case studies, zero tolerance policies and the idea of being tough on crime can have an immense impact on prison overcrowding. At the same time, the current practices of the European Human Rights Instruments can do very little to reduce or influence the sources and effects of these policies.
Second semester University: University of Nottingham
crime prevention, Great Britain, Greece, human rights, prison, prisoners