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Probation expert chosen to review rights of European criminals given community punishments

The rights of convicted criminals across Europe are being revised by a probation expert from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Professor Rob Canton was hand-picked by the Council of Europe to update recommendations made under its Convention of Human Rights.

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: An electronic tag

The document, which was first drawn up in 1950, aims to protect the human rights and freedoms of the citizens of all the 47 member states of the Council.

It includes areas like imprisonment, torture, discrimination and privacy and allows any person who feels their rights, as outlined in the Convention, to have been violated to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Professor Canton, a former probation officer, has worked extensively with the Council of Europe and the EU to develop penal practices in several countries and contributed to framing the European Probation Rules.

Now he has been chosen on the strength of his expertise and former work to revise and update a Recommendation which could affect many thousands of people living across Europe.

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Professor Canton said: “The fact that DMU is recognised as having leading expertise in this field is very rewarding and a credit to the team here.

“In 2008 I was contacted by the European Council to help, alongside a couple of other experts, to advise about the text of probation rules.

“Then this year they approached me and asked if I could update the existing Rules on non-prison punishments, classed as either sanctions or measures.

“One major change since the Rules were originally drawn up is electronic monitoring. Technology has improved in significant ways since these rules were last revised and there are a lot of new issues to work out how to retain an individual’s privacy when they are subject to surveillance, as a punishment and to protect the public.

“Updating the rules with an eye to the advanced modern methods of surveillance is a difficult issue: it is about working out in detail how to respect the privacy of individuals and their families and at the same time doing as much as possible for public protection.”

Posted on Monday 7th September 2015

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