Prison guards, Sept 12, 2013, Zhitikara, Kazakhstan
Recently Dinara Dildabekova, Death Penalty Project Manager in PRI’s office in Central Asia, organised two two-day training workshops (one in Kazakhstan and one in Tajikistan) to train prison officials on international human rights standards on the rights of those on death row or those serving a life or long-term sentence.
In Kazakhstan training was held on September 12-13, 2013 in УК-161/3 facility in Zhitikara, Kostanay region, in Tajikistan on September 16-17, 2013 in the Centre of Prison Service (GUIN) of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The objectives of training were as follows:
- Increasing the knowledge of prison staff of international standards related to persons sentenced to the death penalty or life/long-term imprisonment.
- Sharing experiences and lessons-learned on steps towards humane alternative sanctions.
- Developing greater understanding of the technical legal issues linked to humane alternatives to the death penalty and broader criminal justice reforms.
The training workshops were made up of 20 prison guards in Kazakhstan and 16 in Tajikistan, essentially those who work with death row/life inmates on a daily basis. The training workshops were facilitated by international experts Dr Catherine Appleton, University of Leeds (UK) and Irina Iakovets, PhD (Ukraine). Training focused on key international standards, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), the UNODC Crime Commission’s 1994 report on “Life Imprisonment”, and the Council of Europe Recommendations on “the management by prison administrators of life sentence and other long-term prisoners”, as well as international practice on long/life imprisonment in UK, Ukraine, Switzerland and Norway.
Training workshops helped prison officials to learn more about international standards and key instruments that might be useful in their daily work. Prison guards shared their thoughts and ideas about how treatment of lifers should be improved in practice, particularly that prison guards should be polite, courteous, find a common language with the prisoners and treat them as human beings. The closing ceremony included wrap-up and handing out of certificates.
The training workshops were carried out as part of Penal Reform International’s EU-funded, two-year global project on Progressive abolition of the death penalty and the implementation of humane alternative sanctions after a moratorium or abolition, also with the financial support of the UK Government and German Federal Foreign office.