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People in detention are forgotten or ignored in COVID-19 responses, says new PRI briefing

A new briefing, Coronavirus: Preventing harm and human rights violations in criminal justice systems, highlights the impact of responses to COVID-19 on people in detention – amounting to 11 million people – who have been left behind, ignored or forgotten. Penal Reform International exposes a lack of systematic testing and data collection in prisons across the globe, which means unknown numbers of people in detention and staff are falling ill and dying […]

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Revised European Prison Rules provide greater human rights protection for people detained across the continent

Yesterday marked an important milestone for prison systems across Europe: the revised set of European Prison Rules (EPR) were adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and Penal Reform International (PRI) welcome this important revision of the rules (and their commentary). It is instrumental that […]

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Provision of Procedural Penal Code in Kyrgyzstan, a threat to rights of suspects

The Parliament of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan adopted amendments to the Procedural Penal Code. One of the provision is particularly worrisome, as it deletes a reference to findings of international mechanisms as a source to reopen a case. Penal Reform International (PRI) and the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (CCPR Centre) raised concern with […]

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COVID-19 response: UN must seize opportunity to protect rights of people in prisons

Today the highest human rights body of the United Nations starts in session as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit countries around the globe and presents threats to the health and life of people in contact with criminal justice systems. First on the agenda is a presentation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, […]

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Life imprisonment in a constitutional democracy

On 4 June 2020, Professor Dirk van Zyl Smit gave the ‘Roger Hood’ Lecture at the University of Oxford. Titled ‘The People Strike Back? Life imprisonment and other ultimate penalties in a constitutional democracy’ the lecture looked into the fight of penal reformers to make ultimate penalties more humane. Penal reformers ‘sought, with some success, […]

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UN Human Rights Council takes action to tackle racism and police brutality

George Floyd’s killing in the United States city of Minneapolis in Minnesota has shed light on systemic racism within law enforcement agencies across the US. Such discrimination is a global problem, as we have documented in Global Prison Trends 2020, minority groups are over-represented in many criminal justice systems, seeing higher rates of arrest, pre-trial […]

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Four new PRI board members elected to support our response to the crisis in prisons worldwide

Penal Reform International (PRI) is delighted to announce the election of four new members to its Board to strengthen the organisation’s expertise, networks, strategic vision and financial resilience. The newly elected members are: senior criminologist and advocate Dr Catherine Appleton from the University of Nottingham; outgoing Executive Director of International Corrections and Prisons Association and former […]

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Justice – in all senses of the word – will only come through hearing and learning

An effective and human rights-based approach to law enforcement requires legitimacy, non-discrimination, and public scrutiny. Trust in law enforcement agencies must come from commitment to the law and international standards, respect for all people and tolerance to those who come into contact with law enforcement, and exemplary in behaviour of law enforcement agents. Police can […]

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Webinar: Launch of Global Prison Trends 2020

Prisons and justice systems are facing unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 global pandemic. At this launch event for PRI’s new report Global Prison Trends 2020, international leaders and experts will address chronic issues that have led to this human rights and public health crisis with people in prison being so vulnerable – and critically, […]

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We want to prevent COVID-19 ‘rampaging through places of detention’

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 reminds us of the very essence of PRI’s existence. At this time, our mission is to ensure that no one is left behind and PRI is working to ensure that prison management, criminal justice authorities and governments around the world are informed, equipped and supported to slow and […]