The International Centre for Prison Studies was founded in 1997 for the purposes of conducting research on prisons and imprisonment; developing and disseminating knowledge about how imprisonment should be used; and contributing to improved policy and practice in prisons across the world. 

The work of the Centre includes the production of the prisons handbook, A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, and the development of the World Prison Brief database. The Centre also carries out work on a project or consultancy basis for international agencies, governmental and non-governmental organisations.

In November 2014, the Centre merged with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck, University of London. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research provides a home within which the Centre’s work on the World Prison Brief and other research and project-based activities will continue to grow and develop.  

More than 10.2 million prisoners in the world, new report shows

More than 10.2 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world according to the latest edition of the World Prison Population List (WPPL), researched and compiled by Roy Walmsley and published on Friday 22 November 2013 by the International Centre for Prison Studies. If those reported to be held in ‘detention centres’ in China and prison camps in North Korea were included the total would be more than 11 million. 

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