The Detention and Transfer Programme within the Global Maritime Crime Programme provides specialist programming on prison and prisoner transfer issues. It grew out of the work UNODC did to ensure that piracy prisoners were held in secure and humane conditions while awaiting trial in Seychelles, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania and after conviction in those countries and upon transfer back to Somalia. The evolvement of the programme demonstrates that the Global Maritime Crime Programme's original purpose of ensuring that the criminal justice response to Somali piracy was human rights compliant.

The team has achieved some remarkable successes. It is UNODC's largest prisons programming effort and since 2011 has delivered significant additional human rights compliant prison space in the region.

  Prison space delivered in Eastern Africa through GMCP 
Seychelles 120
Hargeisa and Mandera 700
Bosasso 240
Garowe 500

In addition, significant physical improvements were made to the piracy prison capacity in Mauritius, Kenya and Tanzania. In fact, at one point the team was running the largest ever construction project undertaken in Somalia: Garowe Prison.

The Detention and Transfer Programme does not just focus on delivery better physical conditions for prisoners. They also deliver improvements to prison management and practices through a team of advisors and trainers. Experience has shown that our partners get best value from our work when advisors are placed in prisons for periods of some months, allowing them to get a good understanding of the cultural and environmental circumstances in which prison staff and prisoners exist. In turn, our partner prison services get the chance to see how changes in practice can deliver improvements over time. This approach has brought benefits to partners in the Kenyan, Mauritian, Seychellois and Somali prison services.

The Detention and Transfer Programme has also developed substantial experience in the transfer of sentenced prisoners back home to serve their sentences. UNODC's view is that where they are willing to do so, prisoners should be allowed to serve their sentences in the home country, allowing them access to their families, their culture, staff who speak their language and training and education that is appropriate to their needs. As well as the advising on the logistics of the moves and in some cases providing the aircraft, UNODC ensures that the necessary prisoner transfer laws and consent agreements are in place.

The Detention and Transfer Programme is currently also in charge of the delivery of the Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex as well as associated training. This is a substantial programme which will establish two courtrooms and 1,000 modern and humane prison spaces in the Somali capital. The complex is to be used for trials of the most serious cases and is a key part of the Somali Federal Government plan to improve rule of law in the country.

Finally, the Detention and Transfer team has acquired substantial expertise in the management of violent extremist prisoners. This has come about from the Programme's involvement with piracy prisoners, many of whom had been involved in offences of extreme violence and who come from communities who have also seen their young people become involved with Al Shabaab. Through the monitoring of the prison management practices that have been most effective in rehabilitating Somali piracy prisoners and the violent extremist prisoners held in Kenyan prisons, the Detention and Transfer Programme has acquired a reputation for effective and efficient delivery of support to both the Somali and Kenyan prison services to manage violent extremist prisoners.