The World Prison Brief is an online database providing free access to information on prison systems around the world. It is a unique resource, which supports evidence-based development of prison policy and practice globally.

The World Prison Brief is hosted by the Institute for Crime & Justice 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 hosts and updates the World Prison Brief as part of its World Prison Research Programme. This programme, which involves collaboration with research partners, civil society organisations and policy makers, aims to inform and promote debate and policy reform.

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 merged with ICPR in 2014). These include the World Prison Population Lists, the handbook on A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, and bimonthly International Prison News Digest. See the International Prison Publications page.

The latest World Prison Population List, published in November 2018, reports that there are likely to be well over 11 million prisoners worldwide.

ICPR's latest prisons work

Ten-country prisons project: new webpages and expert insights on the causes and consequences of over-incarceration, available here

Latest news and guidance on COVID-19 in prisons worldwide available here

Latest publications

Keeping COVID out of prisons: Approaches from ten countries (May 2021, available here)

Locked in and locked down - prison life in a pandemic: Evidence from ten countries (May 2021, available here)

Sentencing Burglary, Drug Importation and Murder: Evidence From Ten Countries (January 2021, available here

A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff (3rd edition, July 2018, available here)