Resources listing


Essex paper 3: Initial guidance on the interpretation and implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules

This guidance on the revised UN Nelson Mandela Rules is ‎based on the deliberations of a meeting of experts – known informally as the ‘Essex expert group’ – organised by Penal Reform International and the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex in Colchester, UK, on 7-8 April 2016. The paper consists of six chapters covering: Dignity Prison […]

Languages: English


Podcast: Opening the steel door – how Colorado is reforming solitary confinement

Prisoners are put in solitary confinement – for days, and sometimes for months and years, in most countries. In the USA, the American Civil Liberties Union has estimated that some 80,000 prisoners are housed in some form of isolation. However, the dangers of solitary confinement are increasingly recognised. Not only to the mental health of the individual, […]

Languages: English


Alternatives to the death penalty Information Pack

A short guide to the fundamental issues and arguments linked to introduction of alternative sanctions following abolition of the death penalty. It reviews current trends in the application of long-term and life imprisonment, highlighting relevant international and regional human rights standards and provides examples of good practice. Topics covered include: Current practices worldwide regarding alternatives to […]

Languages: English, French, Russian


Detention Monitoring Tool: Instruments of restraint

While they may sometime be a necessary measure to provide security and order in a custodial setting (eg to prevent inter-prisoner violence or escape), instruments of restraint pose a high risk for torture or other ill-treatment due to their highly intrusive nature and the risk of causing injury, pain and/or humiliation. They may even be […]

Languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish


Balancing security and dignity in prisons: a framework for preventive monitoring

In many countries, whether driven by political or media pressure for tighter security, a punitive approach to imprisonment, inadequate staff-prisoner ratios or a lack of training on inter-personal skills, de-escalation and mediation, prison management often takes unnecessary or disproportionate recourse to security measures in violation of detainees’ right to dignity. This paper aims to provide […]

Languages: Uzbek, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Tajik

International Standard

Key standards and norms on conditions in detention and the treatment of detainees, including health and solitary confinement

Key standards and norms covering conditions in detention and the treatment of detainees include: General International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights UN Convention on the Rights of the Child UN Convention against Torture UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UN Standard Minimum Rules for […]