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

World Prison Brief is 20! New historic data added for over 30 countries (read more), and Roy Walmsley, Founder and Director of WPB reflects on the journey so far (read more)

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

Latest publications

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

Towards A Health-Informed Approach To Penal Reform? Evidence From Ten Countries (June 2019, available here

Pre-trial detention and its over-use: Evidence from ten countries (November 2019, available here)

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