The rule of law, in simple terms, means that neither an individual nor the state (or its agents) is above the law. The rule of law is a crucial element of democracy. People cannot take action against another person unless the law permits it.
Organisations such as prisons cannot interfere with the liberty of a fellow human being unless the law gives them the authority to do so. This applies even where the action is considered to be in the best interests of society.
Ignorance does not justify breaches of the law and as such, it is incumbent on the state to ensure that those entrusted with great responsibility are properly trained and equipped to carry out their duties, within not only the literal legal framework, but also according to the spirit of the law. This document sets out the minimum standards recommended for the provision of leadership and management training for prison managers.
The Council of Europe ‘Guidelines Regarding Recruitment, Selection, Education, Training and Professional Development of Prison and Probation Staff’ (Adams & Carr, 2019) (hereinafter referred to as ’the Guidelines‘), together with The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) (United Nations, 2015) and Recommendation Rec(2006)2-rev of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Prison Rules (revised and amended by the Committee of Ministers on 1 July 2020) (Committee of Ministers, 2020) form the basis of this framework and, whilst these standards are comprehensive, they should not be considered exhaustive.