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European Union: Mutual Recogntion of Supervision Measures as Alternatives to Provisional Detention

(Dec. 5, 2008) A problem that most European Union Member States face is prison overpopulation. Among the factors identified as contributing to this problem are the excessive use of pre-trial detention and the length of that detention. In most EU states, non-resident suspects are often remanded in custody, while resident suspects are subject to alternative methods of control, such as being required to regularly report to police authorities or being prevented from travel. The European Commission, in recognition of this serious problem across Europe, recently introduced a proposal for a framework decision to address the problem of differing methods of supervision measures among EU Members and to enable the Members to mutually recognize non-custodial pre-trial supervision measures.

On November 28, 2008, the EU Members reached a political agreement on the proposal. Upon its entry into force, the decision is expected to reduce the number of non-residents in pre-trial detention as well as the discrimination against non-residents and their unequal treatment in comparison with residents while awaiting trial. (Press Release, IP/08/1838, Europa RAPID, Political Agreement Between Member States on Mutual Recognition of Supervisory Measures as an Alternative to Provisional Detention (Nov. 28, 2008), available at