22 October 2019 - As the guardian of the Nelson Mandela rules (the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners), UNODC has been committed to help Member States adopt a more rehabilitative approach to prison management, a mission which has taken its experts all over the world. Through various programmes ranging from educational to vocational and technical, the reintegration of prisoners into society upon the completion of their sentence is thus facilitated, to the benefit of both prisoners and society at large.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration has worked with local prison authorities to develop and modernize a bakery in a women's prison in proximity to the nation's capital, Bishkek. The prison currently holds some 300 female prisoners, of which half are already taking part in rehabilitation programmes. With the bakery and accompanying training, which were made possible with the support of the State of Qatar, more prisoners will be given a new chance as they prepare for social reintegration after having served their sentence, with the help of the Global Programme's Prisoner Rehabilitation component.
"The opening of this bakery is one of three planned prison projects we have established in partnership between UNODC and the State Prison Service, aimed at improving the conditions of prisoners in correctional institutions and strengthening rehabilitation mechanisms and their social reintegration," noted Melis Turgunbayev, Chairperson of the State Prison Service in the Kyrgyz Republic. "It will foster the rehabilitation and social reintegration prospects of enrolled female prisoners into society."
Initially, 12 female prisoners will benefit from this project; they will be given training in baking and receive a certificate upon completion, which aims at increasing their chances of finding employment after their release. They will also earn a monthly salary for their work in the bakery, whose output will cover the bread supply in their prison and in two additional prisons, with plans to eventually expand bread production to all the correctional facilities in the city.
Ulan Aralbaev, UNODC Project Coordinator, stressed that "the goal of the modernization of the prison-based bakery is fostering the rehabilitation and social reintegration prospects of enrolled female prisoners into society. They will be released as certified professionals and will have better employment opportunities upon release."
Fair, humane and effective criminal justice systems are essential to the promotion of rule of law, the mission of the Global Programme. Investing in prisoner social reintegration programmes and, in particular, managing the return of prisoners to the community, is crucial for preventing recidivism and contributing to public safety.