ICPR’s new briefing paper, “Labouring Behind Bars”, explores work in prison through the lens of international human rights law. This is the first of a series of publications in the project ‘Unlocking potential: towards effective, sustainable, and ethical provision of work opportunities for prisoners and prison leavers’.
I was invited to speak about female imprisonment trends at an event at the UN’s headquarters in Geneva, which took place on 2 October. This was organised by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to aid implementation of the UN System’s Common Position on Incarceration (2021). Representatives from around 20 states attended as well as a similar number of civil society participants including our friends Harm Reduction International, Penal Reform International and the International Commission of Jurists.
Prisons of the World author, Andrew Coyle, will present selected extracts from his recent book, along with unpublished personal photographs and reflections from decades of work as a prisons practitioner, researcher and reformer.
Prison population data reveal a much faster growth in female than male prisoner numbers since the year 2000. While the number of women and girls in prison has grown by almost 60%, the male prison population increased by around 22%.
ICPR is delighted that the third edition of our key publication A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff has been translated into Mandarin. The Handbook provides a basis for good prison management which can be applied in every prison system in the world.
The Handbook is based on the internationally agreed standards for the use of imprisonment and conditions of detention and it provides clear, practical guidance for prison staff as to their implementation. It demonstrates that as well as providing an appropriate framework for the management of prisons, the international standards can be very effective in operational terms.
Birkbeck’s annual Public Engagement Awards recognise and celebrate researchers who have undertaken innovative and exemplary public engagement activities. ICPR has won this year’s Birkbeck Public Engagement award in the category of ‘public participation in research’. This category recognises projects in which the involvement of the public or various publics is an inherent part of the research process.
As the Commonwealth heads of government meet in Kigali, Catherine Heard, Director of the World Prison Research Programme, calls for better data as a first step to ending chronic prison overcrowding.
Dr Sarah Lamble is a Reader in Criminology and Queer Theory at the School of Law, Birkbeck and researches issues of gender, sexuality and imprisonment, as well as alternative forms of justice. Sarah is an organiser with Abolitionist Futures and a founding member of the Bent Bars Project, which coordinates a letter-writing programme for LGBTQ prisoners in Britain.
Here, Sarah reflects on Justice Edwin Cameron’s recent ICPR annual lecture, titled: 'Do prisons work? If not, do prisons inspectorates do more harm than good?’, applying the concept of ‘non-reformist’ reforms. This term, coined by Austrian philosopher André Gorz with reference to political economy, was further developed by prison abolitionists Thomas Mathieson and Angela Davis.
Do prisons work? If not, do prisons inspectorates do more harm than good? Justice Edwin Cameron will consider these questions in a lecture titled: ‘Prisons and prisons inspectorates: puzzles and paradoxes'.
Some 11.5 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 Helen Fair and Roy Walmsley and published on 1 December 2021 by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), at Birkbeck, University of London.