In its commitment to advancing the rule of law, UNODC has been working on the rehabilitation of prisoners, and reducing the possibility of recidivism by investing in their future and changing their outlook on life. In penitentiary facilities around the globe, programmes to rehabilitate detainees, rather than merely punish them, are being implemented with the guidance and direct support of the organization. Such programmes, including training in a variety of sectors such as crafts, construction and fashion positively affect prisoners' behaviour and attitude, giving them a purpose as they serve time. They also impart viable skills and qualifications for them to apply outside of jail. One such programme has outdone even its initial expectations, not only rehabilitating female prisoners in Panama, but also turning their work into sellable, and potentially profitable products.
Two years after it was launched and half-way into its projected life span, the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration has already scored successes in several fields of activity and benefited people in numerous countries around the world. With far-reaching initiatives having already been launched to great acclaim, the Global Programme has covered a variety of disciplines and established thematic components falling under UNODC's mandate.
Today, over 14,000 stakeholders in more than 180 countries have been directly reached by the Global Programme. 23 countries have received direct, targeted technical assistance and over 5,400 stakeholders from 167 countries have been assisted in capacity building.
As part of UNODC's efforts to provide technical assistance and advisory services in the field of prison reform, last month saw the signing of a new agreement with the Government of Tajikistan to support the development of metalwork and woodworking programmes in Dushanbe and Khujand. The initiatives, which were identified with the country's prison service, are expected to enhance prisoners' earning capacity as well as their ability to reintegrate into society upon release.
The modernization of the two prison-based production facilities will permit male inmates to enrol for vocational courses and obtain certificates qualifying them to be employed in metalworking and furniture manufacturing.
With poverty and insufficient labour market access often a driving force behind female imprisonment, it is crucial that inmates are provided with viable employment training opportunities post-release. In Bolivia, the situation is much the same as in many other countries, with a vast number of female inmates convicted for minor offences - many of whom are single mothers and therefore face additional pressure to secure resources by whatever means necessary, frequently leading them to commit non-violent offences such as petty theft.
Against this backdrop, UNODC has signed a new technical assistance project around vocational training with the Bolivian Prison Administration - part of the Office's ongoing work under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.
Discussions around branding, marketing and points of sale are not often associated with the United Nations family, but they were a large part of the latest expert group meeting convened in Vienna in late-January to explore UNODC's options for supporting a global scheme of prison products, made by prisoners in the context of rehabilitation programmes.
An essential component of the Doha Declaration Global Programme, UNODC's work on prisoner rehabilitation has been consolidating the ways in which prison-based rehabilitation schemes can be developed and harmonized at an international level. The consideration of a "global prison brand," or of a similar scheme to promote existing brands of prison products at national level, is the next step in the programme, and was the focal point of the meeting.