History of the Project

A brief history of the SPACE project

The Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics were created by the Council of Europe in 1983. Pierre V. Tournier (currently research director at the CNRS) was in charge of them until 2001. Since 2002, they are placed under the responsibility of Marcelo F. Aebi (currently professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland).

From 1984 to 2006 they were published in the Prison Information Bulletin (that became in 1992 the Penological Information Bulletin and was discontinued after 2006) of the Council of Europe.

From 2000 to 2006, the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics became also available as individual reports, which can be downloaded from the SPACE Website. Since 2007, they are only available as annual reports downloadable from the SPACE Website.

From 1984 to 1991 they were called Statistics on penal populations in the Member States of the Council of Europe. In 1992, they were renamed as the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics and became better known under the acronym SPACE (inspired by their French title of Statistiques Pénales Annuelles du Conseil de l’Europe).

From 1984 to 1991, the statistics included only information related to prison populations in Europe. In 1992, a series of questions on community sanctions and measures were introduced in the questionnaire used to collect the information. The answers to these questions were included as Part II of the reports. In 1997, they became a separate publication. Since then, the original series are known as SPACE I, and the series on community sanctions and measures as SPACE II.

The frequency of the publication and the content of these two series have changed over the years. Currently, both series are published annually.

Timeline of the SPACE Project

1983:

  • Presentation by Pierre V. Tournier of a report on “Statistics on penal populations in the Member States of the Council of Europe” at the 6th Conference of Directors of Prison Administration. The data included in that report are published in issue 2 (2/1983) of the Prison Information Bulletin (renamed in 1992 as Penological Information Bulletin) of the Council of Europe.

1992:

  • The series are officially named SPACE (French acronym for Statistiques Pénales Annuelles du Conseil de l’Europe)
  • The questionnaire used to collect the information is revised and enlarged. In particular, a section on community sanctions and measures is introduced in it and becomes Part II of the publication.

1997:

  • The section on community sanctions and measures becomes an independent project under the name SPACE II. The questionnaire used to collect these data is revised.
  • The original section on prison populations in Europe becomes SPACE I. The questionnaire used to collect the data is revised and enlarged.

1999:

  • Adoption by the Comity of Ministers of the Recommendation concerning prison overcrowding and prison population inflation (R (99) 22), as a result of a report prepared by André Kuhn (Switzerland), Pierre V. Tournier (France) and Roy Walmsley (United Kingdom). This report is largely based on SPACE data for its empirical analyses­ and leads to a full revision of the SPACE I questionnaire.

2000:

  • First publication of SPACE II, covering community sanctions and measures ordered in 1997.
  • SPACE I and SPACE II continued to be published in the Penological Information Bulletin but become also available as individual reports. This allows a quicker distribution of their results.

2002:

  • SPACE I and SPACE II are placed under the responsibility of Marcelo F. Aebi.

2004:

  • Revision of the SPACE I questionnaire in order to introduce questions on the way data are collected (metadata).

2009:

  • Full revision of the SPACE II questionnaire in order to collect data on community sanctions and measures being served (instead of community sanctions and measures imposed by the courts).

2011:

  • Creation of a SPACE Website.

2 thoughts on “History of the Project

  1. Mrs W.F. van Hattum LLM

    where can I find the statistics on
    - the percentage of applications yo the ECHR that are sent in by prisoners and
    - how many of these were declared admissable??
    thanks for answering my questions in advance!
    Wiene van Hattum

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