Separation and solitary confinement in the revised 2020 European Prison Rules – First thoughts

The European Prison Rules (and their Commentary) were recently revised by the Council of Europe. The most notable changes arguably concern the rules guiding prison authorities on the separation and solitary confinement of prisoners. This comes at a time where separation has become more commonplace with COVID-19 restrictions in place. The practice of solitary confinement […]

Dirk van Zyl Smit10th July 2020

Protecting human rights in COVID-19: Detention Monitoring in Georgia

In this external expert blog for PRI, Giorgi Burjanadze, Deputy Ombudsperson in Georgia and member of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) mandated to conduct the monitoring of detention facilities, shares how they adapted its methodology to continue its critical work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Giorgi Burjanadze1st June 2020

Less lethal equipment used in places of detention

The usage and types of equipment in prisons and other places of detention is wide ranging and varies from country to country. In this blog, the Omega Research Foundation reflects on the growth of less lethal weapons available to officers and ongoing efforts for transparency. In recent years there has been a growth in the […]

The Omega Research Foundation18th March 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

Combatting the trade and use of weapons and restraints for torture and ill-treatment: a new resource for detention monitors

The UN Nelson Mandela Rules state that ‘the use of chains, irons or other instruments of restraint which are inherently degrading or painful shall be prohibited’. With no global prohibitions on the manufacture, trade and use of torture equipment however, it is highly important that independent monitoring bodies are able to effectively monitor the use of weapons […]

Dr. Abi Dymond10th December 2018

‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’: Breaking the cycle of violence against LGBTI persons in detention

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in detention – or persons perceived as belonging to this group – are in a situation of particular vulnerability and at risk of human rights violations and abuses, including by fellow detainees, throughout the entire criminal justice system. In this blog, Jean-Sébastien Blanc of the Association for the Prevention […]

Jean-Sébastien Blanc4th December 2018

The role of internal inspections in protecting human rights in prison

The importance of independent external monitoring of prisons to prevent torture or ill-treatment from occurring is well established. Internal inspections can also play a crucial role however, and the Nelson Mandela Rules require a two-fold system that includes regular internal or administrative inspections conducted by the central prison administration. In this expert blog, Mary Rogan looks […]

Mary Rogan12th September 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

In Brazil, prison riots and killings expose the structural failures of mass incarceration

In 2017 alone, at least 119 people were killed during prison riots in Brazil, while other prisoners have simply disappeared. Henrique Apolinario, a lawyer at Conectas Human Rights, discusses what needs to be done in order to avoid further tragedies and to address the underlying causes of the crisis. 2017 started with terrible news in Brazil. […]

Henrique Apolinario28th March 2018

Prisoner transportation in Russia: travelling into the unknown

Heather McGill, a researcher currently working on Central Asia for Amnesty International, discusses her recent report on prisoner transportation in Russia, which was launched in October 2017. Prisoners are always at greater risk during transportation, but prison transportation in Russia is in a league of its own. The size of the country combined with the […]

Heather McGill28th November 2017