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This report of the Select Committee of Experts on Education in Prison, consisting of recommendations and an explanatory memorandum, derives from a decision (CDPC/74/060484) of the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) in 1984 to establish the select committee. There are wide differences in culture and in educational systems between the countries of the Council of Europe.

Prison systems also vary greatly, as does the definition of what constitutes prison education within the administration of prisons. However, despite all these differences, a number of generalizations can be made in relation to prison education. This report, in accordance with its terms of reference, takes prison education in its wide sense to include library services, vocational education, cultural activities, social education, physical education (PE) and sports, as well as the academic subjects which are included in narrower concepts of education.