Learning from Carceral Tours: Reflections After a Howard Tour Across Europe

  • Tom Vander Beken
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


This chapter draws from a study of the role of prisons in Europe for which the research was undertaken by visiting prisons in six countries, as well as by reading, by observing and by listening to those who could say something about those prisons. The aim of the chapter is twofold. On the one hand, it wants to comment on the methodological choices and consequences of a so-called prison tourism design. It is argued that, in spite of ethical challenges and intrinsic epistemological deficiencies, studying prisons and prison systems from a prison tourist perspective has the potential to provide unique and special information and can shed light on questions and themes that are not on the agenda of international monitoring bodies. On the other hand, the chapter summarises some of the findings about the countries that have been visited and draws general conclusions about the study as a whole and reflects on the differences between prison tourist findings and what official international monitoring bodies report on.


Prison tourism Monitoring Comparative penology 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Vander Beken
    • 1
  1. 1.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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