Penal Reform International (PRI) is an independent non-governmental organisation that develops and promotes fair, effective and proportionate responses to criminal justice problems worldwide.
California’s prison gang problem: the role of prison size24/11/2016 Duração: 09min
Gang rule or ‘extra-legal governance’ in US prisons is linked to ever larger facilities. One way to make prisons safer and reduce the influence of gangs is therefore to make prisons smaller. This blog is by David Skarbek, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at King's College London. This is part of PRI's expert guest blog series. Read a text version of this blog at www.penalreform.org
The Dutch experience: innovating practice to support foreign national prisoners24/03/2016 Duração: 09min
Worldwide more than a half a million foreign nationals are detained abroad. While entitled to assistance under international law, in practice only a few countries provide assistance to their nationals. One of these is The Netherlands. However, uniquely, as well as assistance provided by diplomatic staff, Dutch citizens detained abroad can also receive regular visits from ex-patriate volunteers in a scheme run by the Dutch Probation Service. Femke Hofstee van der Meulen, Director of Prison Watch, evaluated the impact of the volunteer programme as her PhD and summarises her findings here in an expert blog for Penal Reform International. Visit www.penalreform.org/blog for a text version of this podcast.
How to build a prison compliant with human rights norms25/02/2016 Duração: 08min
To fill the gap between international norms and the relative lack of information on how to build a compliant prison in difficult circumstances, UNOPS recently developed a Technical Guidance for Prison Planning document that facilitates a human rights-based approach in the development of prison infrastructure. This blog post by Gordon Nuttall and Pedja Jurisic (UNOPS) is adapted from the manual, which was updated in 2016 to reflect the recent adoption of the Mandela Rules, and outlines some common ‘mistakes’ in prison design, and three key principles to keep in mind.
Nourish: thinking about food in prison25/01/2016 Duração: 10min
In many countries, prison food is insufficient in quantity and quality. Budgets are low (less than 0.5 USD per prisoner per day according to data recently gathered by PRI) and there have been cases where prisoners have died from starvation. In higher-income countries, food is more available but still may not be ‘of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served’, as prescribed by the newly revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe recently published a new report, Food Systems in Correctional Settings, which examines the critical role of food in the physical and mental health of incarcerated people and the construction of their identities and relationships. Amy Smoyer, from Southern Connecticut State University (USA), is a co-author of the report. She introduces the report here, highlighting in particular the psycho-social importance of food.
The European Supervision Order for transfer of defendants: why hasn’t it worked?02/12/2015 Duração: 07min
Foreign national prisoners often suffer disproportionately in the criminal justice system. They may have to negotiate prison life whilst contending with a different culture, language and without the regular family contact or visitors other prisoners may enjoy. As the number of foreign nationals in prison is considerable in many countries, the issue of the transfer of convicted prisoners has been high on the agenda in recent years. Conversely, little recognition has been given to the possibility of transfer of non-custodial alternatives imposed on nationals of other countries either pre-trial or following conviction. However, the European Union made a first attempt to address the issue, with the European Supervision Order (ESO) in 2009, which was intended to enable defendants charged with an offence abroad to await their court hearing in their home country supervised by local authorities. The implementation of the ESO has, however, been challenging. In this blog, Bruno Min, Legal and Policy Officer at Fair Tr
No prison is an island – the role of civil society in post-conflict penal reform25/11/2015 Duração: 08min
Restoring the justice and prison systems back to working order is an essential and often urgent task for post-conflict states. In this expert blog for PRI, Terry Hackett, Warden of Pacific Institution in British Columbia (BC), Canada, draws on his recent research into civil society action in justice and correctional reform in Rwanda after the genocide of the early 1990s, to demonstrate the potential value that civil societies can bring to correctional reform processes in a post-conflict setting. Terry's qualitative research is based on 22 interviews of government officials and former and current NGO staff members involved in correctional reform since the 1994 genocide, as well as observations and site visits that occurred in Rwanda in late 2014. A full account of his research can be found in his recently published article The Prison should not be an island: the role of Civil society in post conflict prison reform in Rwanda, Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology Special Edition No 1/2015
Preventing infectious diseases in prisons: a public health and human rights imperative23/10/2015 Duração: 05min
The spread of infectious diseases is a serious problem in prison systems worldwide, with prisoners often many times more likely to be living with Tuberculosis, HIV or hepatitis than a person in the community. Alongside the generally poor and unsanitary conditions prevalent in prisons, one major route to infection is unsafe injecting drug use. Yet very few jurisdictions permit or provide harm reduction services (such as clean needles) in prisons. In this blog, Gen Sanders, Human Rights Research Analyst at Harm Reduction International, says that states have both a public health duty and a human rights obligation to tackle the dangerous combination of drugs and infectious disease in closed settings. www.penalreform.org/blog
In California’s experience, it isn’t bigger prisons that crime victims want25/08/2015 Duração: 07min
‘Tough on crime’ policies are often justified on the basis that putting people in prison for longer is what victims want and deserve. In 2013, Californians for Safety and Justice, which campaigns for more effective public safety policy − conducted a survey to find out whether this was what victims in California actually did want. The results turned the established narrative on its head. In this expert blog for Penal Reform International, Lenore Anderson, Executive Director of Californians for Safety and Justice, explains how crime survivors are uniting in California both to improve provision of trauma recovery services for victims and to advocate for justice reform.
Introduction to the 'Mandela Rules' with PRI's Andrea Huber15/06/2015 Duração: 18min
On 22 May 2015, at the UN Crime Commission in Vienna, states agreed on a new set of prison standards – a new and updated version of the well-known and well-used Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). Andrea Huber, PRI’s Policy Director, was involved in the revision process and was present in Vienna when the adoption of the resolution containing the new text was adopted. In this podcast, she explains why the Rules needed to be revised and what the changes could mean for prisoners, prison staff and for prison management. Length: 20 mins.
Failed drug policies in Latin America: the impact on prisons and human rights30/04/2015 Duração: 08min
In Latin America, around one third of all detainees are in jail for drug-related offences. The 'war on drugs' has had a damaging impact both on communities in the region and on the functioning of prison systems. In this last of our expert guest blogs for our anniversary year, Luciana Pol, Senior Fellow on Security and Human Rights at Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) in Argentina welcomes initiatives in several Latin American countries to start to recalibrate the criminal justice response to drugs and welcomes the inclusion of human rights perspectives into next year’s Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in April 2016.
Global Prison Trends 201514/04/2015 Duração: 26min
Sentencing trends ... prison technology - opportunities and threats ... architectural design and offender rehabilitation. A special podcast to accompany our new Global Prison Trends Report. Guests include: Alison Hannah (PRI Executive Director), Bryan Stevenson (Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and PRI Board Member), Dr Marayca López (US corrections analyst and justice planner)and Rob Allen (criminal justice expert) Presented by BBC broadcaster, Paddy O'Connell and produced in partnership with the UK Prison Radio Association which broadcasts to the UK's 85,000 prisoners.
Prisoner consultation can contribute to the smooth running of prisons25/03/2015 Duração: 08min
Dr Kimmett Edgar, Head of Research at Prison Reform Trust (UK) describes how consulting prisoners can lead to more efficient targeting of resources, reduced conflicts, and improved relations with prisoners. Thanks to Lucy Wills for use of her painting. This is the 11th blog in PRI's expert guest blog series celebrating our anniversary year. Visit www.penalreform.org/blog to find out more.
Prison systems need to acknowledge widespread corruption02/03/2015 Duração: 06min
In the ninth of our expert blog series, former UK prison governor and criminal justice expert, John Podmore, says that recognition that corruption is a widespread problem in prison systems – and subsequent action to tackle it – is long overdue.
How can criminal justice systems address the medical and social care needs of elderly prisoners?27/02/2015 Duração: 15min
The number of older prisoners in prison populations is growing in many countries, in part due to ageing populations and often in part to punitive sentencing policies. However, older prisoners are more likely than their peers in the community to be disabled, to have multiple, costly chronic health conditions, and experience age-related cognitive impairment including dementia, presenting new and pressing challenges to the delivery of healthcare in prison systems. In the tenth expert blog in our anniversary series, Cyrus Ahalt and Brie Williams, Directors of the Community Ageing Health Project at the University of California, San Francisco, discuss the implications of the growing number of older prisoners for health-related policy and practice across criminal justice systems from arrest to reintegration, and argue that policy-oriented research is urgently needed to address the needs of this vulnerable group.
Turning recommendations into reality: improving the impact of detention monitoring bodies09/12/2014 Duração: 10min
Thirty years after the entry into force of the UN Convention against Torture, there is still a considerable implementation gap and torture continues to exist worldwide. One of the most significant developments over the last few years has been the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) which have a mandate to carry out regular unannounced visits to places of detention. In the 8th expert blog in our anniversary series, Moritz Birk of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, argues that the follow up and implementation of NPM recommendations is a weak point and examines how they can better ensure the long term impact of their detention monitoring and make a sustainable contribution to the prevention of torture.