The tale of the European sandcastle: on the convergence and divergence of national detention systems across the European Union
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Despite European organizations holding normative and monitoring influence over detention-related matters, the situation in national penitentiaries across the EU exhibits great disparities. The failure of national authorities to ensure detention conditions that safeguard the rights of their prisoners undermines the principles of mutual trust and mutual recognition, which serve as a bedrock for intergovernmental cooperation between European States. It is high time the Union intervened, with a purpose to rescue its essential principles and safeguard its ideals; nonetheless, whichever path the Union chooses to tread upon, it should do so carefully. Detention matters are a sensitive issue, and any prison an extremely complex machinery.