On 14 June 2011, the European Commission launched a Public Consultation on a Green Paper entitled "Strengthening mutual trust in the European judicial area - A Green Paper on the application of EU criminal justice legislation in the field of detention".

The Commission wishes to explore the extent to which detention issues (following a criminal offence) impact on mutual trust, and consequently on mutual recognition and judicial cooperation generally within the European Union. Whilst detention conditions and prison management are the responsibility of Member States, the Commission is interested in this issue because of the central importance of the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions for the area of freedom, security and justice. Is further action necessary and possible? If yes, what kind of action?

Although the Green Paper covers a wide range of detention issues which are not necessarily drugs-related, it does allow for reflection and input on probation & alternative sanctions and pre-trial detention periods which may be relevant for drug-law offences. It also covers detention conditions and the monitoring of detention conditions by Member States. These issues are of relevance for the EU Drugs Action Plan (2009-2012), and in particular in regards to the actions related to alternatives to prison (action 16), the development and implementation of drug-related health services in prison (action 21) and the monitoring of drug use, drug-related health and drug services delivery in prisons (action 22). The press statement and the Green Paper can be found on the news section of the DG Justice website.

The Green Paper contains 10 questions, and the European Commission is interested in receiving feedback, comments and replies from practitioners, such as judges, prosecutors and lawyers and other legal practitioners, police officers, directors of prison administrations, people working in the social and probation services, pre-trial detention centres and prisons, academic circles, relevant NGOs and government bodies. In short, all persons and entities with an interest in DG Justice's activities are welcome to contribute, including other European institutions and organisations, such as the Council of Europe, agencies and committees and the United Nations.

The drug policy coordination unit of the European Commission would like to encourage you to further disseminate this call for public consultation in your networks and to submit your views, expertise and contributions on those issues that are relevant for drug policies and responses in relation to prison settings to the Commission through the communication channels as identified and explained on the website of DG Justice.

Please note that responses should be sent, by 30 November 2011, to:

European Commission, Director-General Justice, Unit B1, Procedural Criminal Law, MO59 03/068, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

or by e-mail to: JUST-CRIMINAL-JUSTICE@ec.europa.eu.