chapter  10
A touch of discipline
Accountability and discipline in prison systems in western Europe
ByJon Vagg
Pages 18

Prisons have rules, and when prisoners break them they get punished. It is not of course as simple as that. Prison officers have to realise that some rule has been, or is being, broken. They must make a report to senior staff and/or the governor. In some countries they might make a report not because a prisoner has done something specific but because he or she is generally uncooperative. The governor is expected to follow laid-down procedures. The outcome may be, as it is phrased in England and Wales, an ‘award’. Other consequences, such as transfer to another institution, might also follow; the disciplinary record might be taken into account at future stages in the inmate’s ‘prison career’, for example in decisions about parole. Finally, and most crucially from the point of view of accountability, the inmate may have the opportunity to challenge the governor’s decision, which might then be reduced or set aside, and perhaps even some form of compensation given-the specific arrangements, of course, varying across the four countries with which I shall be concerned: England and Wales, France, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the Netherlands.