RESCALED Welcomes Landmark EU Council Conclusions Under Belgian Presidency (EU2024BE)

Brussels, 14 June 2024 — Today, the ministers for Justice of the 27 EU countries have unanimously expressed their support for the use of detention houses. They did so by adopting Council Conclusions on Small-scale Detention and thereby inviting all member states to consider, where appropriate, the use of small-scale detention facilities for custodial purposes, including detention houses, with the aim of limiting the negative impacts of detention, and ensuring better guidance for incarcerated persons on returning to society. The RESCALED Movement, a leading advocate for the use of detention houses in Europe, applauds the adoption of these Council Conclusions, as it marks a significant step towards a more sustainable justice system and a greener, fairer and more inclusive future. This is a strong and hopeful sign in times when many European prison systems are struggling with overcrowding, staff shortages or high recidivism rates.

© EU
Justice and Home Affairs Council (Justice), 14 June 2024

Key Highlights from the Council Conclusions:

      • Social rehabilitation and reintegration into society: Small-scale detention can better facilitate social rehabilitation and reintegration of incarcerated people into society, with the aim of helping prevent reoffending and building more inclusive communities
      • Small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated: The Member States are invited to explore and raise awareness for the potential benefits of small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention facilities and consider, where appropriate, the use of these facilities
      • Towards a safe and inclusive society: The Council considers small-scale detention to contribute to a better sense of community and better social integration, which may reduce reoffending. Thus, small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention facilities can help achieve safer and more resilient communities.

We are thrilled to witness this political will to explore the benefits of small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention houses for European societies. It is hopeful to see the relation between effective justice policies and well-developed social policies reflected in the Council Conclusions on Small-scale Detention,” says Helene De Vos, Executive Director of RESCALED. “This milestone is part of a wider European movement towards a justice system that truly meets the needs of inclusive, safe and sustainable societies.

Moving forward, the RESCALED Movement will continue to:

      • Map good practices of small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated detention facilities already existing all across Europe, see also https://inspirational-practices.rescaled.org
      • Increase the know-how on detention houses in collaboration with researchers and practitioners
      • Support national Ministries of Justice, prison administrations and local governments in the implementation of detention houses instead of large prison institutions
      • Engage with local communities to sustain support for detention houses by raising awareness of the benefits of small-scale, differentiation and community-integration

Read the full text of the Council Conclusions ‘Small-scale detention: focusing on social rehabilitation and reintegration into society’.


RESCALED, the European Movement for Detention Houses is a growing movement with members in seventeen countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Kosovo, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Spain. Some members manage small-scale detention houses, whilst others are involved in advocacy, in services to (formerly) incarcerated people and in research. RESCALED’s vision is that one day, societies are inclusive, safe and sustainable. For this purpose, it supports the use of detention houses instead of large prison institutions. Detention houses are small-scale, differentiated and community-integrated. They benefit not only incarcerated people but also their social network, potential victims, the criminal justice system, its staff and society at large. Detention houses allow for a better application of European laws and principles and contribute to restoration, reduced reoffending and social sustainability.

For more information, please contact:

Helene De Vos

Executive Director