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Standards and Resources

Governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies have produced standards, assessment tools, guidelines, manuals and other resources for use by prison administrators.

The following articles address a number of topics common to prison administration throughout the world.

Why ask about family? A guide for Corrections. (2011). Vera Institute for Justice.
From the guide by Vera Institute for Justice: Working in corrections can be rewarding. But it is also extremely challenging. The daily demands don’t always leave room to think about the families of people who are in jail or prison. Yet families and other social supports can help individuals succeed while they are incarcerated and afterward, leading to better outcomes for the facility and greater public safety.
Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture: Implementation manual. (2010).Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (IIHR). [EN]
From the manual created by Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights (IIHR): The international community has publicly and officially recognised torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as among the most brutal and unacceptable assaults on human dignity.1 In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in response to the atrocities that occurred during the Second World War. Article 5 of the UDHR states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.2 Since the adoption of the UDHR, this prohibition has been repeatedly reaffirmed in numerous national, regional and international instruments.3 In accordance with these instruments, the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment is absolute: no exceptions to this prohibition, including armed conflict, public emergency, or threats to national security are permitted under international law. Furthermore, the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment is regarded as part of international customary law: in other words, it is binding on all states, regardless of whether they have ratified any human rights instruments.
Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services:Prison Labour. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. (2010).
From the submission by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation: The success of rehabilitation in prisons depends on an offender’s ability to find work, stay out of crime and be a productive member in society once he or she is released. Many prisoners who enter prison do so with a minimum degree of skills, and few have had the benefit of prior working experience. A small study conducted by Lukas Muntingh with a group of released prisoners in the Western Cape revealed, somewhat unexpectedly, that only 13% of them were unemployed at the time of their imprisonment, 47% were employed, and 38% engaged in casual jobs.7 However, on release only 42% found employment in the first few weeks and thirty percent of these had returned to jobs they had prior to their imprisonment. The majority of ex-offenders had no employment and no income after their release.8 This picture illustrates how prisoners who had no skills or working experience prior to imprisonment were less likely to find work. Prisoners, who are sentenced while they are still young, are even less likely to have had the benefit of skills training or work experience.
'Making our prisons work' an inquiry into the efficiency and effectiveness of prisoner education, training and employment strategies.(2010) Western Australia. Parliament. Legislative Assembly.
From the report: This report is the first of two reports into the efficiency and effectiveness of prisoner education, training and employment strategies. Its focus is prison employment activities and prison industries and their role in prison management in defraying costs and the reintegration of prisoners back into society.
Sexual assault in jail and juvenile facilities: Promising practices for prevention and response. Final report. Kim English, et. al, (2010). Denver, CO: Colorado Division of Criminal Justice. Office of Research and Statistics. [EN]
From the report by Kim English, et. al: Sexual assault is brutal and creates an atmosphere of terror. The threat or occurrence of rape in correctional institutions compromises the safety of both inmates and staff and, like other forms of institutional violence, contribute to a dangerous environment.
Disabled prisoners: A short thematic review on the care and support of prisoners with a disability. (2009). [EN]
From the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons: The National Offender Management Service, like all public authorities, is now subject to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. It is required to promote disability equality and eliminate unlawful discrimination in all the prisons in England and Wales. Disability, as defined in the Act, covers a range of impairments, both physical and mental, including learning disability. This thematic report draws together information from prisoner surveys and inspection reports between 2006 and 2008, together with responses from 82 prison disability liaison officers (DLOs), to examine how well prisons are currently able to discharge these duties.
Programs and activities: Tools for managing inmate behavior. Mark D. Martin & Richard J. Kaledas. (2010). Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections. [EN].
Keeping inmates productively occupied through inmate programming provides a powerful incentive for inmates to maintain positive behavior. Programs offer something constructive for inmates to do or learn, meaning there is less time for negative behaviors to become management problems for staff. Programs contribute to making staff work environments safer, with reduced threats of violence and hostility. They offer opportunities for selfimprovement, possibly helping inmates function more productively in their communities upon release. Finally, there is likely to be a cost benefit: it can be less costly to implement programs in the long run than to constantly replace broken showerheads, repaint graffiti-ridden walls, or pay overtime for staff responding to inmate disturbances. (excerpt)
Translating research into practice: Improving safety in women's facilities. Marianne McNabb. (2008). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice. [EN]
The results of this study offer correctional administrators and policy-makers some thought-provoking insights, as well as possible approaches to enhancing safety for incarcerated women. The research covers a wide range of issues and topics, and highlights many areas for operational consideration, and it confirms what many correctional professionals have long known: paying attention to those factors that create a safe environment for women is good operational practice. This may result in more effective and efficient use of our resources; creating a safer environment for staff and volunteers; fewer reasons for inmates to resort to litigation and finally, returning women to their communities with more skills and the potential to succeed. (excerpt)
Dignity and human rights in correctional practice. Tony Ward. (2010). European Journal of Probation. 1(2):110-123.
Interventions with offenders have a normative layer as well as a scientific basis and therefore it is not possible to quarantine ethical questions from discussions of best practice. My aim in this paper is to provide an expanded ethical canvass from which to approach correctional practice with offenders. The cornerstone of this broader ethical perspective will be the concept of human dignity and its protection by human rights norms and theories. I also explore the relationship between responses to crime and offender rehabilitation based on an enriched theory of punishment that is sensitive to offenders’ moral equality and their attendant rights. (author's abstract)
Manual on Human Rights Training for Prison Officials
Part of a 2005 series on Human Rights and Prisons, this training manual was developed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR).
Individual and institutional characteristics related to inmate victimization. Angela R. Gover, et. al., (2010). 554(3):378-394. [EN]
This study examines the effect of inmate and institutional characteristics on inmate victimization during incarceration. In addition, it examines whether factors related to inmate victimization varies by perpetrator type, specifically inmate versus staff victimizer.
Offender rehabilitation as a value-laden process. Andrew Day (2010) International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. 54(3):289-306. [EN]
This article investigates some of the primary assumptions and values that underpin correctional practice in the area of offender rehabilitation. It is suggested that values are reflected in offenders’ and clinicians’ fundamental beliefs about the rehabilitative process and as such underlie their various actions.
Understanding the effects of trauma on lives of offenders. Joan B. Gillece. (2009).Corrections Today Magazine. February. [EN]
The prevalence of trauma histories in incarcerated individuals is widely known. Estimates of up to 85 percent of women in the system have early experiences of physical and/or sexual abuse. The number of men who have experienced similar life-changing childhood trauma is also significant. When correctional staff and inmates alike are made aware of the correlation between traumatic experience and self-destructive behavior, facility culture changes. When certain behavior is understood as adaptive rather than attention-seeking or noncompliant, attitudes change. (excerpt)
Programs that Help Offenders Stay Out of Prison. Carl Nink and Steve MacDonald. (2009). Centerville, UT: MTC Institute. [EN]
This report examines corrections programs that aid in the prevention of offenders reentering prison with a focus on education and substance abuse treatment programs.
Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System. United Nations Economic and Social Council Resolution 1997/30 of 21 July 1997.
4. The aims of the Guidelines for Action are to provide a framework to achieve the following objectives: ( a ) To implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to pursue the goals set forth in the Convention with regard to children in the context of the administration of juvenile justice, as well as to use and apply the United Nations standards and norms in juvenile justice and other related instruments, such as the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power; ( b ) To facilitate the provision of assistance to States parties for the effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and related instruments. 5. In order to ensure effective use of the Guidelines for Action, improved cooperation between Governments, relevant entities of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations, professional groups, the media, academic institutions, children and other members of civil society is essential. 6. The Guidelines for Action should be based on the principle that the responsibility to implement the Convention clearly rests with the States parties thereto. 7. The basis for the use of the Guidelines for Action should be the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Gentle justice: Analysis of open prison systems in Finland. A way to the future?
This study analyses the open prison system as a gentle way of incarceration and as a humane way of treating offenders with the objective of bringing malefactors in line with society's accepted social norms. The primary focus of the study is on the experiences of prisoners (during their time in prison) as they enter the prison. The study also make sense of the prison's social world, the various problems that the prisoners face both inside and outside the prison, as well as the potential hazards connected with re-entry into the outside world. The study extrapolates from the literatures on stigma faced by prisoners and the dilemmas they face as they try to become productive members of the society. The term Gentle justice in this dissertation refers to the political and sociological understanding of Finnish penal system and to an explanation of why Finland has been able to maintain rather low rates of imprisonment since the 1960s, in contrast to opposite trends in most other Western countries. The analytical data utilised in this work comprises: A) A questionnaire survey on "Public Attitude to Crime"conducted in five major cities in Finland in 2004. The questionnaire is presented in Appendix 1. B) One year of participant observations made in Huittinen open prison including interviews conducted with 15 inmates at the time of their incarceration and after their release as well as their answers to the "Questionnaire for Inmates". The questionnaire can be found in Appendix 2. C) The data on "The Police and Citizens actual encounters" which consists of the observations completed during a period of twelve months in a nightclub in the city of Tampere in 2002. The dissertation utilises a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. In the perspective of the New School of Convict Criminology (Ross and Richards), the study offers a qualitative analysis of prison experience in an Open Prison in Finland by using one's insider perspective to inform on the actual observations of prison life. The study accomplishes its objective through three interdependent research questions: How does open prison induce changes in inmates' self-definitions throughout their reformatory period? How do the inmates adapt to the prison world and how do their adaptation strategies change during their prison careers? And finally, how do the inmates see their experience and orient themselves within the open prison system in Finland? The conclusion of the study is that, the introduction of the policies which laid emphasis on rehabilitation rather than using the prison institution as mere punishment tool in Finland have contributed to a better understanding of the structure and functioning not only of prison populations but of social groups in general. In addition, these methods of prevention and rehabilitation in conjunction with correctional, educational staff within and outside the prison walls steadfastly upholding these policies have contributed to the low recidivism rate in Finland. (author's abstract)
Sourcebook on solitary confinement. Sharon Shalev. (2008)Mannheim Centre for Criminology (London, England). [EN]
The Sourcebook on solitary confinement provides a comprehensive single point of reference on solitary confinement, its documented health effects, and professional, ethical and human rights guidelines and codes of practice relating to its use. It is hoped that the Sourcebook will encourage policy makers and prison managers to put in place safeguards and mechanisms to limit the use of solitary confinement and to mitigate its harmful consequences. (author's abstract)
International standards that relate to detentions, corrections, and prisons. Gary Hill, et. al. (2010) International Network to Promote the Rule of Law. [EN].
In the following sections and subsections, the international hard and soft law relating to detentions, corrections, and prisons is organized in accordance with the categories described in the Background. The listing of international standards herein is not comprehensive but rather focused on the main standards that are most commonly employed in discussions contemplated in the query. (excerpt)
Prison security in societies emerging from conflict. INPROL Consolidated Response (07-007). Leigh Toomey (2007). International Network to Promote the Rule of Law. [EN]
One of the immediate challenges in restoring peace and stability in a society striving to emerge from conflict is developing a prison security system that both prevents prison inmates from escaping and protects corrections officers. The issues that need to be addressed often include inexperienced, untrained and poorly paid prison staff who do not have appropriate weapons and equipment, the lack of secure prison buildings and infrastructure, and a shortage of furnishings and other resources. Security measures must be urgently implemented to establish an adequate level of prison security that meets international human rights standards and can be developed and sustained by a new government with competing funding priorities. (excerpt)
Manuel sur la gestion des dossiers des détenus. SÉRIE DE MANUELS SUR LA JUSTICE PÉNALE (2009) OFFICE DES NATIONS UNIES CONTRE LA DROGUE ET LE CRIME. [FR]
On a tendance à penser que la tenue des dossiers des détenus est une tâche qui incombe à l’administration et à la bureaucratie pénitentiaires – pensum fastidieux pour un personnel pénitentiaire déjà surchargé. Le rôle des dossiers des détenus en termes de protection et de promotion des droits de l’homme est beaucoup moins évident. Des dossiers complets, à jour et disponibles sont non seulement une condition sine qua non de la gestion et de la planification stratégiques des prisons, mais aussi un outil essentiel pour garantir que les droits des détenus sont respectés et exercés. Si un établissement pénitentiaire enfreint ces droits, l’objectif de réinsertion de toute peine privative de liberté s’en trouve nécessairement compromis, de même que la confiance de la société dans le système de justice pénale et la primauté du droit en général.
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