Prison Reform To Uphold Dignity of Prisoners
Having the 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States of America today endorsed Minimum Standards for the Treatment of Prisoners and with Mandela Rules.
In her remarks in New York City, Under Secretary Sara Sewall for Civilian Security said the United States of America is wholeheartedly implementing the 122 Mandela Rules affirming the fundamental dignity of prisoners everywhere and provides a comprehensive foundation to bring new decency and humanity to their treatment.
“The US endorses these rules and is proud to have participated in the collaborative process to produce them.” – Ms. Sewall
US Calls for Prison Reform
According to Ms. Sewall, President Obama became the first-ever sitting president to visit a federal prison, where he spoke about the urgent need for prison reform in the U.S.
The US president declared that “we should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country.”
In particular, overcrowding, corruption, and rape in prisons should not exist.
“This was not just a moral argument, but a pragmatic one.” – Ms. Sewall
Ms. Sewall stressed that how people are treated while incarcerated directly affects how they behave once they return to our communities.
To reinforce this endeavour, for one the Mandela Rules stress the need for prisoners to have opportunities for educational and vocational training, along with moral or spiritual counseling.
US asserts these programs are critical to helping prisoners become contributing members of society when they are released.
Collaborative Effort to Implement Mandela Rule
According to Ms. Sewall, to implement the Mandela rules, it is relevant to consider that governments are not alone in this effort.
Ms. Sewall pointed out the participation of civil society in implementing these rules.
“These groups can help facilitate religious learning to help counter the warped ideologies of violent extremists.” – Ms. Sewall
In addition, the civil society can also ensure that governments uphold the commitments embodied in this document, and can advise when the Mandela Rules need further improvement in the years to come.
The United States says it will continue to partner with any government willing to realize the Mandela Rules, and it has worked closely with Ministries of Justice and corrections bureaus around the world to do just that.
To cite an example for this, with U.S. assistance, Afghanistan employs professional training modules for its correctional staff to ensure a higher standard of management and care. U.S. support also helped Morocco launch drug treatment and vocational programs for prisoners, along with a system for inmates to express grievances.
“We stand ready to partner with any country willing to implement these rules.” – Ms. Sewall
The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners was first drafted in 1955 with the basic principle that “There shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”