At the annual session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Penal Reform International will promote the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders, their value and the need for their implementation by states.
Should you be interested in the Report and Recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Day of General Discussion on “Children of Incarcerated Parents” please click here.
As it is a forum for the development and also the monitoring of UN standards and norms, and plays a major role in guiding policy development, it is an important forum within which Penal Reform International aims to highlight issues of concern and feed in expertise.
During this year’s Crime Commission, which will take place in April 2012, PRI will be active with a whole range of activities, including the promotion of the Bangkok Rules. While the Rules are not an explicit agenda item for the Commission, our organisation will use other opportunities to bring the need for implementation of the Bangkok Rules into focus.
For example, on 26 April Penal Reform International will co-sponsor and speak on the panel of the side event “Collateral Convicts: The Children of Incarcerated Parents”, organized by the Friends World Committee for Consultation. As PRI stressed during the “Day of General Discussion” of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 30 September 2011, the Bangkok Rules is the sole international document incorporating at least a few provisions on children of incarcerated parents.
To illustrate, the Bangkok Rules stipulate that decisions as to when a child is to be separated from its parent must be based on individual assessments and the best interests of the child (Rule 52) and that children in prison with their parent should never be treated as prisoners (Rule 49). They also clarify that children must be taken into account at all stages of a parent’s contact with the criminal justice system, specifying that women must be allowed as many opportunities as possible to see the children who are imprisoned with them (Rule 50) and that the child’s experience must be as close as possible to life for a child outside (Rule 51).
PRI believes that these provisions are a good starting point for making progress on the rights of children of incarcerated parents and reiterate the value of the Bangkok Rules as a very modern standard, taking into account issues in the area of criminal justice which had previously been overlooked.
Furthermore, PRI will dedicate its statement under agenda item 8 to recalling the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders, their importance and their main features. Also, PRI will use this forum to alert delegates to PRI’s forthcoming Guidance Document on the Bangkok Rules. This document seeks to provide guidance on how the Bangkok Rules should and can be implemented. It will explain the rationale behind the provisions, which actions need to be taken at legislative and operational levels, and which actors need to get involved in the reform process. It will also detail good practices that can be used as a model.
This statement is linked to the agenda item “Use and application of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice scheduled for Friday, 27 April, 10am to 1pm, and will be posted on PRI’s website on this day.
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