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Penal Reform International (PRI) is an independent non-governmental organisation that develops and promotes fair, effective and proportionate responses to criminal justice problems worldwide.

PenalReform PenalReform

    • Philosophie

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 size

    California’s prison gang problem: the role of prison size

    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

    • 9 Min.
    The Dutch experience: innovating practice to support foreign national prisoners

    The Dutch experience: innovating practice to support foreign national prisoners

    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.

    • 9 Min.
    How to build a prison compliant with human rights norms

    How to build a prison compliant with human rights norms

    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.

    • 8 Min.
    Nourish: thinking about food in prison

    Nourish: thinking about food in prison

    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.

    • 10 Min.
    The European Supervision Order for transfer of defendants: why hasn’t it worked?

    The European Supervision Order for transfer of defendants: why hasn’t it worked?

    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 Trials, explores the history of the ESO and asks what would need to happen for a supervision transfer system to work.

    • 7 Min.
    No prison is an island – the role of civil society in post-conflict penal reform

    No prison is an island – the role of civil society in post-conflict penal reform

    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: Change in African corrections − from incarceration to reintegration.

    • 8 Min.

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