The World Prison Brief is an online database providing free access to information on prisons and the use of imprisonment around the world. It is a unique resource, offering a foundation for evidence-based development of prison policy and practice globally.
The World Prison Brief is hosted by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), at Birkbeck, University of London. It was launched in 2000 using data compiled by Roy Walmsley, Director of the World Prison Brief.
ICPR’s prison studies team conducts research on prisons and imprisonment worldwide, developing and disseminating knowledge to inform policy and practice. Through collaboration with research partners, civil society organisations and policy makers, ICPR’s world prison research programme aims to inform and promote debate on what we expect from imprisonment, and pursues a range of policy-oriented research activities. The hosting and continual updating of the World Prison Brief database is a core part of this work.
In addition to providing access to the World Prison Brief database, this website holds other publications by ICPR and its original host, the International Centre for Prison Studies (which was formed in 1997 and merged with ICPR in 2014). These include the World Prison Population List (and complementary lists on Female Imprisonment and Pretrial/Remand Imprisonment), the handbook on A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, and bimonthly editions of the International Prison News Digest. See the ‘Research and publications’ page.