United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners

The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, [1] adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1955 and approved by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and extended by the Council by its resolution 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977, have stood the test of time and they remain the universally acknowledged minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners. However, in 2010 the General Assembly recognized that some areas of the Standard Minimum Rules could be reviewed so that they reflect the latest advances in correctional science and good practices, provided that any changes to the Rules would not lower any existing standards.

Open-ended intergovernmental expert group meetings

On the recommendation of the General Assembly, [2] the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice established the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Group to undertake such a revision of the existing United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. The Group was also tasked with exchanging information on best practices and to examine national legislation and existing international law in this regard.

With a view to preparing the ground for the discussion during the meeting of the Expert Group, a number of consultations with international experts were organized in the course of 2011, including a high-level expert group meeting held in Santo Domingo from 3 to 5 August and an expert group meeting held in Vienna on 6 and 7 October. In addition, technical consultations took place on comments on rules 22-26, 32, 52 and 82 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

The first meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Group was held from 31 January to 2 February 2012 in Vienna, Austria. For this meeting, the Secretariat prepared a paper entitled "Notes and comments on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners"

( http://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/AGMs/Notes_and_comments-1250048-DMU_version.pdf) which identified - for each of the Rules - the advances in internationally recognized good practice and highlighted references to recent international instruments. The paper was prepared with the help of a consultant, Professor Andrew Coyle, Director, International Centre for Prison Studies, University of Essex, United Kingdom, and a number of consultations with international experts took place in the course of 2011 to provide the Secretariat with additional inputs for a background paper. The meeting's recommendations on possible next steps were submitted to the twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2012 ( http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=E/CN.15/2012/18).

 

2 nd Meeting of the Expert Group - Buenos Aires, Argentina, 11-13 December 2012

At the invitation of the Government of Argentina, the second meeting of the Expert Group [3] will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 11 to 13 December 2012. At this meeting, the Group will consider the following preliminary areas identified at its first meeting for possible consideration:

( a) Respect for prisoners' inherent dignity and value as human beings;

( b) Medical and health services;

( c) Disciplinary action and punishment, including the role of medical staff, solitary confinement and reduction of diet;

( d) Investigation of all deaths in custody, as well as any signs or allegations of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners;

( e) Protection and special needs of vulnerable groups deprived of their liberty, taking into consideration countries in difficult circumstances;

( f) The right of access to legal representation;

( g) Complaints and independent inspection;

( h) The replacement of outdated terminology; and

( i) Training of relevant staff to implement the Standard Minimum Rules.

 

Member States were encouraged to actively participate in the meeting of the Expert Group and to prepare reports summarizing discussions and recommendations, including comments and concerns expressed by Government experts and other participants. Documents received from participants to the meeting were made available in the languages provided only and can be downloaded from this site.

The Government of Argentina provided interpretation for the meeting. To facilitate the work of the 2 nd Meeting, the Secretariat prepared a working paper which is posted on this site. 

 

2 nd Meeting documentation

Document symbol

Topic

Arabic

Chinese

English

French

Russian

Spanish

Documents submitted by the Secretariat

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/1

Information for participants

 

 

pdf

pdf

 

pdf

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/2 Working paper prepared by the Secretariat pdf pdf pdf pdf pdf pdf

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/3

Provisional agenda and organization of work

 

 

pdf

pdf

 

pdf

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/4 Final report (edited) pdf pdf pdf pdf pdf pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/CRP.1 Summaries of replies from Member States to the Notes Verbales of 8 March 2011 and 11 September 2012     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/INF.5 List of participants     pdf
pdf pdf  

Responses from Member States

Consolidated Proposal

(ARGENTINA , BRAZIL, SOUTHAFRICA,URUGUAY, USA, VENEZUELA)

      pdf     pdf

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.1

Argentina

 

 

 

 

 

pdf

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.2 Germany     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.3 Finland     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.3/Add.1 Finland     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.4 Algeria       pdf    
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.5 New Zealand     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.6 Switzerland       pdf    
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.7 Austria     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.8 Bahrain pdf   pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.9 Brazil     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.10 Canada     pdf
     
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.11 Chile           pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.12 China   pdf pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.12/Add.1 China   pdf        
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.13 Denmark     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.14 Belgium       pdf    
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.15 Ecuador           pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.16 Egypt pdf   pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.17 Estonia     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.18 Guatemala           pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.19 Israel     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.20 Italy     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.20/Add.1 Italy     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.21 Japan     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.22 Jordan pdf   pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.23 Lebanon pdf   pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.24 Mauritius     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.25 Mexico           pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.26 Philippines     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.27 Romania     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.28 El Salvador           pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.29 South Africa     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.29/Add.1 South Africa     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.30 Thailand     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.31 Ukraine     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.32 United Arab Emirates pdf   pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.33 United Kingdom     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.34 United States of America     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.34/Add.1 United States of America     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.35 Congo       pdf    
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.36 Russian Federation     pdf   pdf  
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.37 Saudi Arabia
  pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/Gov.38 Madagascar       pdf    

Responses from Non-Member States maintaining Permanent Observer Missions (Vienna)

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/INF 2 Palestine pdf          

Other submissions

UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/1 Penal Reform International and Essex Universitypdf pdf   pdf pdf pdf pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/2 Friends World Committee for Consultation and Penal Reform International     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/3 Amnesty International     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/4 American Civil Liberties Union     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/5 World Users and Survivors of Psychiatry     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/NGO/5/Add.1 World Users and Survivors of Psychiatry     pdf      
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/INF/3 Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment     pdf     pdf
UNODC/CCPCJ/EG.6/2012/INF/4 CAT/OP/2 - circulated at the request of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment     pdf     pdf

 



[1] Human Rights: A Compilation of International Instruments, Volume I (First Part), Universal Instruments (United Nations Publication, Sales No. E.02.XIV.4 (vol. I, Part 1)), sect. J, No. 34.

[2] Operative paragraph 10 of GA resolution 65/230 of 21 December 2010, entitled " Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice."

[3] The second meeting of the Expert Group was authorized by the Economic and Social Commission in its resolution 2012/13, operative paragraph 8.