The four year project starting in December 2014 will aim to reform the penitentiary system in line with international human rights; develop the capacity of civil society groups to initiate projects to support people in the criminal justice system and to protect the rights of prisoners; and implement alternative sanctions and diversion mechanisms at community and police levels.
The project will also seek to:
- introduce independent inspection and monitoring of places of detention
- upgrade health services and educational and rehabilitation programmes inside prisons
- change working procedures to be more child-friendly and gender sensitive, which will include piloting mother and baby units in prisons.
PRI will work with a wider range of partners in the project, including: Yemen’s Ministry of Interior, the Correctional and Rehabilitation Department (CRD), prison personnel, the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior, as well as the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Development and Labour, judges, prosecutors, the Judicial Inspector’s Office, the National Human Rights Commission, social and probation officers working in prisons, local NGOs engaged with legal and penal reform and lawyers who are active in working with NGOs.
The prison system in Yemen faces a number of challenges, including resource shortages and poor prison conditions. This project will benefit prisoners, particularly vulnerable groups such as women, children, elderly prisoners, those sentenced to the death penalty, and children detained with their mothers.
This project will build and expand PRI’s support for criminal justice reform in Yemen over the last few years. PRI has, for example, worked closely with the Ministry of Interior and prison service to improve the quality of training for prison staff, and formally established a permanent new training centre for prison officers offering human rights based prison management courses in Sana’a in 2013.