The concept of teaching values and skills is at the heart of UNODC's work in building a culture of lawfulness from an early age. By working with young minds, the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative is busy promoting this ideal at the primary level, reaching out to children between the ages of six and 12 through a series of fun, yet informative, educational tools.
At the core of the success of this work is the understanding that the development of meaningful tools will depend on the invaluable opinions of both children and teachers alike. With this in mind, December saw two important events in Mexico City, which allowed children, educators and relevant stakeholders to give their thoughts on the design of two key educational items currently being developed under E4J.
Indonesia's 450 prison facilities currently house over 250,000 prisoners - the mere number indicating the challenge with which the prison administration is faced in ensuring their safe, secure and humane custody. In running these, the country's Directorate-General of Corrections (DGC) is presented with additional issues, such as severe overcrowding, staff shortages, and - an aspect which is often less well known among the general public - the task of preparing prisoners for their eventual social reintegration into society. This undertaking, however, is crucial, as it is rooted in the understanding that imprisonment alone is incapable of addressing the social reintegration needs of offenders, and that without educational and vocational training programmes, many prisoners fall into the cycle of re-offending upon release.
As part of UNODC's work in promoting sport as a valuable tool for youth crime prevention, sports and education experts from ten different countries met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in late-November. With participants from across the globe attending, the study visit served as an ideal opportunity to bring together a diverse group in order to share best practices and familiarize them with the methodology of UNODC's life skills sports-based training programme - Line Up Live Up.
The week featured a series of interactive presentations, roundtable discussions and site visits to observe innovative ways to engage at-risk youth by using sport as a vehicle for both diversion and social-change.
International standards stipulate that imprisonment should not be limited to the deprivation of liberty. Rather, it should include opportunities for prisoners to obtain the knowledge and skills that can assist them in their successful reintegration upon release, with a view to avoiding future offending. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) call for the provision of rehabilitation programmes in prisons that foster the willingness and ability of prisoners to lead law-abiding lives upon release. As the guardian of the Nelson Mandela Rules, UNODC has published a new handbook to provide a series of practical steps for prison administrators in order to assist them in developing high-quality and sustainable rehabilitation programmes that meet international standards and norms.
As the guardian of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), UNODC has a long history of providing technical assistance and advisory services to the Member States in the field of prison reform. Its Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, therefore, includes a dedicated component on strengthening the rehabilitation of prisoners, including their social reintegration upon release.
The Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) and the General Directorate of Penitentiary Institutions of Kyrgyzstan have recently become amongst the national prison administrations that will receive technical support from UNODC to enhance the range and quality of rehabilitation programmes.