At the conclusion of their 15th conference in September 2009 the Heads of European Prison Administrations invited the Council of Europe to consider the need for a Code of Ethics for Prison Staff. This recommendation was taken up by the Council’s Penological Committee, which commissioned Professor Andrew Coyle to prepare a concept paper on the need for such a Code. Following receipt of the concept paper, the Penological Committee appointed Andrew Coyle as its expert to draft a Code of Ethics.
The Committee invited all member states to provide examples of national codes of ethics or similar documents for prison staff. Account was also taken of codes and standards adopted in a number of other countries. Various drafts of the Code were considered subsequently by the Penological Committee and by its parent body, the European Committee on Crime Problems.
The final version of the Code of Ethics for Prison Staff was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in April 2012 and issued as Recommendation 2012(5) to all member states.
In the Preamble to the Code the Committee of Ministers:
Recommends that the governments of member States be guided in their internal legislation, practice and codes of conduct for prison staff by the principles set out in the text of a model European Code of Ethics for Prison Staff, appended to the present recommendation, which should be read in conjunction with the European Prison Rules
Further recommends that governments of member States give the widest possible circulation to this text and codes of ethics based upon it, and oversee their implementation by appropriate bodies.