Prison-based rehabilitation is a complex issue: While prisoners typically face a range of social, economic and personal challenges that may complicate their social reintegration into society, prisons often lack sufficient infrastructure, programmes, and resources, and may even exacerbate these problems.
In order to reduce re-offending, therefore, it is crucial to actively prepare prisoners for their successful re-settlement in society. With this in mind, UNODC hosted an Expert Group Meeting and a workshop in Vienna and Dushanbe respectively, bringing together a number of experts in a bid to encourage a comprehensive, rehabilitative approach to prison management.
At any given time, over 10 million people worldwide are in prison. With this, prison overcrowding has reached epidemic proportions in many countries - an issue raised at a side event during the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Doha.
"Prison overcrowding can be considered a symptom of a malfunctioning justice system", noted Piera Barzano, Senior Regional Advisor of the Justice Section at UNODC. "The problems of overcrowding have to be dealt with by the prison administration, although the solutions are seldom within their reach." Ms. Barzano noted several reinforcing reasons that may lead to prison overcrowding, including causes not confined to the limits of criminal justice but that extend to other spheres of State responsibility such as welfare policy, access to health services, education, and employment.