On Human Rights Day, 10 December, PRI’s Central Asia office held a film festival to raise awareness of the damaging impact that imprisonment has on prisoners, their families and the staff who run the prisons themselves. Saule Mektepbareva, PRI’s Regional Director and Alison Hannah, Executive Director opened the festival, showing in a local cinema, and introduced the director who talked briefly of the purpose of the film commissioned by PRI for the occasion.
Three films were shown:
“How to make prisons effective” A portrayal of prisons in India, showing the conditions in which prisoners lived and the lack of facilities available to them
“Forgotten” PRI’s film showing conditions for long term prisoners and giving insight into life inside
“Kids behind the Bars” A BBC film showing children in detention in a wide range of institutions across the world, from a boot camp in the USA to an open prison in Turkey
The aim of the festival was to show conditions for pre-trial and sentenced prisoners in different countries and how little deterrent effect imprisonment has on the rate of re-offending. This point was particularly made in the final film where the open detention centre in Turkey. Here children worked or attended school outside during the day, only returning in the evenings to be locked up. Yet none absconded and the reoffending rate was zero, thus illustrating that it is not necessary to lock people up in order to reform them – quite the reverse may be the case.