In July 2008 ICPS completed an International Profile of Women's Prisons and the provision of healthcare for women in prison, with ICPS Research Associate Helen Fair leading the research.
The review was jointly commissioned by the National Offender Management Service and Offender Health Unit in the Department of Health to inform the future design of women's prisons and support the development of policy on the provision of healthcare in women's prisons.
Then ICPS Director Rob Allen participated in the UN Crime Congress in Salvador, Brazil from 12th -17th April. He was the scientific rapporteur of the Congress Workshop on Best Practices in Prisons and also made a presentation at the Workshop on Reducing Overcrowding. He also spoke at two ancillary meetings on Pre-Trial Detention (organised by the Open Society Justice Initiative) and on inspection of places of detention.
At the conclusion of their 15th conference in September 2009 the Heads of European Prison Administrations invited the Council of Europe to consider the need for a Code of Ethics for Prison Staff. This recommendation was taken up by the Council’s Penological Committee, which commissioned Professor Andrew Coyle to prepare a concept paper on the need for such a Code. Following receipt of the concept paper, the Penological Committee appointed Andrew Coyle as its expert to draft a Code of Ethics.
Between 2000 and 2004 ICPS developed the Restorative Prison Project which set out to discover the extent to which restorative principles could be used in the prison setting as a means of assisting prisoners to resettle into their communities after release. The project, which was funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, was overseen by an advisory group chaired by Sir Graham Melmoth, then CEO of the Co-operative Wholesale Society.
The project identified four key elements which might be used to assist the process of resettlement:
The work on Restorative Prisons led directly to a detailed examination of the concept which came to be known as Justice Reinvestment. This is a term which was coined in the United States of America to describe efforts to use funds currently being spent on imprisoning offenders more productively in those areas from which the offenders come through local community based initiatives. This approach to criminal justice gives local rather than central government the power to decide how money should be best spent to produce safer local communities.
ICPS produced a report on “International Experience in Reform of Penal Management Systems” about issues which arise when a Ministry of Justice takes over responsibility for sentence execution from a ministry of Interior or Security.
The report contains case studies about the experience of Russia, China and Thailand as well as a wider discussion of principles and practice.
As a further element of analysis into the way prisons are managed and prisoners are treated ICPS sought to open up a debate about how what became known as the “outputs” of imprisonment should be measured. Since the 1990s the Prison Service of England and Wales has laid great emphasis on establishing standards for what goes on inside prisons and it developed a sophisticated auditing process. However, these audits tended to focus on features which could be easily measured.