Blog

Healing-centered justice: ending extreme sentencing of women

In the fourth blog of our series marking the tenth anniversary of the UN Bangkok Rules, Laura Ann Douglas examines extreme sentencing of women - what is driving the increase, what impact it has on the women serving these sentences, and how the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and its partners are working with women who have served extreme sentences to advocate for healing-centered justice.

Laura Ann Douglas31st March 2021

Five takeaways from the UN Crime Congress 2021

In this blog, Olivia Rope, Executive Director for Penal Reform International and Vice-Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice gives her top five takeaways from the Kyoto Declaration which was adopted as the outcome of the 14th UN Crime Congress.

Olivia Rope30th March 2021

A short prison sentence, a fine, or life imprisonment – all for the same offence: Exploring sentence disparities in ten countries

Sentencing people who are convicted of a criminal offence is complex business. The sentencing policy and practice of any given country has a significant impact on prison population and overcrowding rates, and is closely linked with the ability to provide safe, humane prison conditions in line with international standards like the UN Nelson Mandela Rules. […]

Catherine Heard5th August 2020

We are 30: Looking forward to the next decade

“It all started with a meeting…” 30 years ago, Vivien Stern, Ahmed Othmani and Hans Tulkens created Penal Reform International. They had in common the belief we still cherish, as stated by Nelson Mandela: “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails”. In other words, the health of criminal justice […]

Florian Irminger21st November 2019

UN reports mortality rates for people in prison as much as 50 percent higher than wider community

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report in September 2019 on the administration of justice and human rights analysing violence, death, and serious injury in situations of deprivation of liberty. In this blog, Aldyen Krieger, PRI’s Policy Intern, evaluates the primary drivers behind the high exposure to violence and increased mortality […]

Aldyen Krieger18th November 2019

Elderly life-sentenced prisoners: a forgotten and ‘invisible’ group

In this blog, PRI’s Vicki Prais, looks at the challenges faced by elderly people in prison, sentenced to life imprisonment. Vicki notes that the ‘greying’ of the prison population has seen an upward trend and warrants attention as it is a group that will certainly grow given the rise in life sentences handed down globally. […]

Vicki Prais23rd August 2019

Life imprisonment: A practice in desperate need of reform

At the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in May 2018, Olivia Rope, PRI’s Policy and Programme Manager, called on the UN and its member states to address the global increase in life sentences and their implementation. In this blog, based on Olivia’s speech, Katie Reade summarises the causes of the current crisis, […]

Katie Reade11th June 2018

Global Prison Trends 2018: a global view on the state of prisons

PRI has launched its annual flagship publication, Global Prison Trends 2018. Here we publish the foreword to the report, written by the Rt Hon Helen Clark, a Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Every year, Global Prison Trends by […]

Rt Hon Helen Clark15th May 2018

Successful challenge to life without parole for children in the US led by former PRI Board Member, Bryan Stevenson

On Monday this week, the US Supreme Court ruled in Montgomery v Louisiana that people currently serving life sentences for offences they committed as juveniles must either be considered for parole or re-sentenced. In 2012, the Court had held that a mandatory life sentence without parole (LWOP) was unconstitutional for those under the age of […]

Dirk van Zyl Smit, with Harriet Lowe3rd February 2016