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Prison Reforms in Resource Poor Settings - South Asia Experience

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Prison Reforms in Resource Poor Settings - South Asia Experience

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  1. Prison Reforms in Resource Poor Settings- South Asia Experience Dr. Jayadev Sarangi, Prison Expert UNODC Regional office for South Asia ICPA Conference Prague, 28 October 2008

  2. Realities on the ground • Over-crowding • Majority are remand prisoners • High prisoner turnover • Low civil society participation in prison reforms • ‘We’ and ‘Them’ Divide • Protection mechanisms for the weak and vulnerable inadequate • Constraints - human and financial resources • Low awareness - drugs and HIV • Denial – “no sex, no drug, no violence” • Sexual risk behaviour – MSM, coercion • Large number of married inmates • Post release follow up of prisoners is very negligible

  3. Prison reforms:key elements • Application of Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners- A Human Rights perspective • Advocate for and create awareness to ensure that adjustment of laws and policies should be in conformity with international standards and norms on diversions, restorative justice and non-custodial sanctions • Reduce prison overcrowding • Expedite disposal of cases • Alternate sentencing

  4. Prison reforms:key elements • Capacity of Member States to apply international standards on the professional management/operation of prisons • Increased application by Member States of strategies to improve overall healthcare of prisoners including the reduction of the spread of drugs/HIV in Prisons of South Asia • Sensitization and capacity building of law enforcement officials

  5. Prevention of drugs and HIV in prisons of South Asia (Project RAS/H71) Prison Intervention sites Disclaimer: The boundaries do not reflect the official position of UNODC

  6. Our Response • Advocacy • Sensitization and training at 3 levels • Policy makers, senior Government and civil society partners • Middle level Government and civil society partners • Field level prison officials and prison inmates • Select prison inmates as ‘peers’ to deliver key messages and training to their peers • Roll out of interventions (including gender sensitive programming)

  7. The approach • Creating avenues for safer practices - build trust • Incremental steps • Use of existing provisions within the laws, regulations and the socio-cultural milieu • Inclusive approach - drug using and non drug using populations (men and women prisoners) • Pave way for launching prison reform initiatives in resource poor settings

  8. Bangladesh - 4 Sri Lanka - 8 Maldives - 3 Nepal - 4 India - 9 418 National Trainers 5,400 prison inmates trained 27,000 prison inmate beneficiaries 28 Master Trainers Coverage

  9. Major achievements • More opportunities for scaling up (e.g., Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh) • Capacity of Governments and civil society partners strengthened • A critical mass of human resources trained and active • Demand for newer elements of prison reforms created

  10. Hand Holding for launching newer prison reforms initiatives Peer networking & peer led intervention- involving Prison staff, inmates, NGOs Breaking the “Us” and “Them” Divide Building partnerships- prison officials, civil society, prisoners Training & Sensitization Breaking Denial Advocacy

  11. This is just the beginning… please visit us at:

  12. UNODC Tools

  13. Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, London, 2008

  14. Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, London, 2008

  15. The gender dimension HIV/AIDS Interventions for Female Injecting Drug Users (FIDU) and Female prisoners in Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan • Assessment of risk behaviours of female injecting drug users in prisons • To increase access to medical/ health services for female injecting drug users • To reduce unsafe injecting through peer involvement • To create a de-stigmatising and enabling environment for women

  16. Comprehensive Packages * • Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSP) • Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) • Voluntary HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT) • Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) prevention • Condom programming for IDUs and partners • Targeted Information, Education and Communication (IEC) for IDUs and their sexual partners • Hepatitis diagnosis, treatment (Hepatitis A, B and C) and vaccination (Hepatitis A and B) • Tuberculosis (TB) prevention, diagnosis and treatment. * UNAIDS, UNODC & WHO

  17. Chief Peer Patron (Superintendent) Deputy Chief Peer Patron (Deputy Superintendent / Chief Jailor) Peer Monitoring NGO Coordinator Peer Patron (A. S. / Jailor) Welfare Officer Peer Patron (Head warder / Overseer) Peer Volunteer Peer Assembly A A A B B B Peer Peer Training Peer Group –A Monitoring Mechanism

  18. Resource poor settings • Decongest prisons • Decriminalise petty offences • More alternate sentencing measures • Community sentencing • Change of laws • Use of existing human resource for multi tasking • Use of prisoner resources for prisoner welfare measures • Cost effective interventions • Effective civil society partnership

  19. Addressing gender concerns • Stereotyped gender relationships – Unequal power balance in relationships. • Marginalization by society – Strong feelings of powerlessness, low self esteem and self confidence. • Lack of family support, social networks & financial services. • Lack of gender sensitive services, including lack of trained female service providers with appropriate skills. • Lack of Information and access to health services, including HIV/AIDS prevention & care programmes. • Special needs of women prisoners with children • Stigma & discrimination.