What happens to people in the course of imprisonment affects all of us. On Nelson Mandela Day, which takes place on 18 July each year, join the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in sharing why #PrisonersMatter and in calling for the universal practical application of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – the Nelson Mandela Rules.
Prisoners are often a forgotten population. Many think about them as separate from the rest of society, removed as a criminal punishment or pending trial. But prisoners are not separate from the rest of us. They are a product of and remain part of our societies, and the vast majority of prisoners will eventually be released.
What happens to people in the course of imprisonment affects all of us in many ways: public safety, our health, our community’s finances, social cohesion, and ultimately the human dignity of us all.
When we reduce the scope of imprisonment, improve prison conditions and enhance social reintegration prospects, we are all better off. Prisoners matter.
UNODC field teams, prison authorities and partner organizations took part in the #PrisonersMatter campaign on Nelson Mandela Day 2023. Here are just a few highlights:
Five years ago, Nurlan was sent to a prison in the northern part of Kazakhstan. Today, through the support of the prison’s vocational programme, Nurlan’s life has changed. “I’ve got big plans ahead of me. I’ve got a family and a son waiting for me at home, and I think it’s only a matter of time before I get home and see them.”
Perfectly foamed milk. A bittersweet tang on the palate. A perfect cappuccino? It’s more than that. This particular cup was carefully prepared by Denny, an inmate in Tangerang prison, Jakarta, who joined a UN-supported training programme aimed at helping prisoners to re-integrate into society after serving time.
“I became a prison officer because I wanted to help some of the most vulnerable people in society – those who have overstepped the law. I wanted to help them overcome their challenges and develop themselves for the better.” Superintendent Abdul Latif shares his story, including the impact of UNODC’s collaboration with the Ghana Prisons Service.
Nelson Mandela Day 2023 is over, but the #PrisonersMatter campaign continues. Lend your voice to the call for change.
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The Nelson Mandela Rules are the universally-acknowledged benchmark for good prison management in the 21st Century. They provide clear benchmarks for prison officials on safety, security and the humane treatment of prisoners. UNODC is the custodian of these rules, working with the Group of Friends of the Nelson Mandela Rules to promote and support their adoption worldwide.