Enhancing the lives of female inmates
23 April 2009 - Female prisoners have particular needs. Many suffer from mental illness and drug or alcohol dependence, higher prevalence of HIV, and histories of sexual and physical abuse. During the eighteenth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand discussed her work. Also this week, the World Health Organization and UNODC released a joint declaration recognizing overlooked issues linked to women's health in prison.
Interview with Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand
Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol, a public prosecutor and campaigner for the improvement of the lives of female prisoners,addressed the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and received an Award of Recognition from UNODC.
The Princess has done much to help stop violence against women and improve prison conditions in Thailand. Her "Kamlangjai" or "Inspire" project offers assistance to female and pregnant inmates and their children, as well as helping probationers and facilitating their reintegration into society through vocational training and employment programmes. Addressing the Commission, the Princess said women were the "forgotten population in prison settings".
UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa gave the Princess an Award of Recognition for her outstanding work to promote prison reform and the humane treatment of female prisoners. The Princess also opened an exhibition on the Enhancing Lives of Female Inmates Project, which proposes new rules on the treatment of women prisoners and non-custodial measures for women offenders as a supplement to the 1955 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (of which UNODC is the custodian).
Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol has already been recognized by the United Nations for her work: she is Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Thailand.
Kyiv Declaration on Women's Health in Prison: correcting gender inequity
The Kyiv Declaration on Women's Health in Prison is an important step towards greater recognition of gender-specific health-care needs in prison. Although women represent a small percentage of the total prison population, their numbers are increasing faster than those of the male prison population.