GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

Special Focus
 Pull-out section

 to imprisonment
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International
Global Prison Trends 2020                                       Penal Reform International
This document is co-published and produced with financial       1 Ardleigh Road
assistance from the Thailand Institute of Justice. It is the    London N1 4HS
sixth edition of Penal Reform International’s Global Prison
Trends series.                                                  Telephone: +44 (0) 207 923 0946
Penal Reform International would like to thank Dr Catherine     Twitter: @PenalReformInt
Appleton (University of Nottingham), Claire Cain (Women         Facebook: @penalreforminternational
in Prison UK), Helen Close (Omega Research Foundation),
Benny Goedbloed, Batuhan Görgülü (Civil Society in
Penal System Association-Turkey), Billy Gorter (This Life       Thailand Institute of Justice
Cambodia), Dr Katerina Hadjimatheou (University of Essex),      GPF Building 15th–16th Floor
Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste (Cyrus R. Vance Center for           Witthayu Road, Pathum Wan
International Justice), Matthew McEvoy (Omega Research          Bangkok 10330
Foundation), Fergus McNeill (University of Glasgow),            Thailand
Fíona Ní Chinnéide (Irish Prison Reform Trust), Marie Nougier   Telephone: +66 2118 9400
(International Drug Policy Consortium), Teppei Ono              Email:
(Japanese Center for Prisoners’ Rights), Claudio Paterniti      Twitter: @TIJthailand
Martello (Associazione Antigone-Italy), Selene Pineda           Facebook:
(UNODC-ILANUD), Aurélie Plaçais (World Coalition Against
the Death Penalty), Luciana Pol (Centro de Estudios Legales
                                                                Second version published in May 2020.
y Sociales-Argentina), Maiko Tagusari (Japanese Center
                                                                First version published in April 2020.
for Prisoners’ Rights), Sonja Tošković (Belgrade Centre
                                                                This is the second version published on 12 May 2020 with
for Human Rights), and Prof. Dirk Van Zyl Smit (University
                                                                corrections made to statistics pertaining to drug-related
of Nottingham and Chair of PRI) for their contribution to
                                                                offences and country-specific penitentiary budgets that
the report.
                                                                came to the author’s attention after publication.
Its contents are the sole responsibility of Penal
                                                                ISBN: 978-1-909521-68-1
Reform International.
                                                                © Penal Reform International 2020
This publication may be freely reviewed, abstracted,
reproduced and translated, in part or in whole, but not for
sale or for use in conjunction with commercial purposes.
Any changes to the text of this publication must be approved
by Penal Reform International. Due credit must be given to
Penal Reform International, the Thailand Institute of Justice
and to this publication. Please note the version cited if
quoting this publication (this is version 2).
Enquiries should be addressed to

Cover photo: Women’s prison in Libya.
Graphic design by Alex Valy. Printed on 100% recycled paper.
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

                                                                          Introduction                                                3
                                                                          Key messages                                                4
                                                                          Global Prison Trends key facts and figures                  6

                                                                          1. Crime, justice and imprisonment                          9
                                                                             Crime and imprisonment                                    9
                                                                             Cycles of imprisonment                                  10
                                                                             Drug policies                                            11
                                                                          	Responses to violent extremism
                                                                             and prevention of radicalisation                         12

                                                                          2. Trends in the use of imprisonment                       15
                                                                          		Funding of penitentiary systems                          15
                                                                             Pre-trial detention                                      17
                                                                             Death penalty                                           18
                                                                             Life imprisonment                                       20

                                                                          3. Prison populations                                      21
                                                                             Women                                                   21
                                                                             Children                                                22
                                                                             Older persons                                           25
                                                                             Persons with disabilities                               27
                                                                             Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people    27
                                                                          	Foreign nationals, minorities and indigenous peoples     28
                                                                             People in prison without proof of legal identity        29

                                                                          4. Prison management                                       31
                                                                             Health in prison                                        31
                                                                                Coronavirus pandemic and prisons                     31
                                                                             Security and violence                                   34
                                                                             Deaths in custody                                       35
                                                                          		Equipment in prisons and use of force                    37
                                                                          		Self-government                                          38
                                                                             Prison staff                                            39
                                                                          	Rehabilitation of people in prison,
                                                                             and environmental sustainability                        40
                                                                             Fragile and conflict-affected states                    43
                                                                             Natural disasters and extreme weather                   44

                                                                          5. Role and use of technologies                            45

                                                                          Index				                                                  48
                                                                          Endnotes                                                   50


                                                                               Special Focus 2020
                                                                                  Pull-out section

                                                                                to imprisonment

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                   |1
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

        The overwhelming majority of
      people in prison continue to come
       from disadvantaged backgrounds
      and are likely to have a history of
      abuse and neglect, often experienced
        as children.

     Adults and children in a detention centre in the Philippines.

2|                                                                   Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

This sixth edition of Global Prison                   schemes, all aim to limit the number     At the end of this decade, states’
Trends is jointly published by                        of people coming into contact            commitment to improve the
Penal Reform International (PRI)                      with the criminal justice system         criminal justice system will be
and the Thailand Institute of                         to begin with.                           measured against the 2030 Agenda
Justice (TIJ) at a crucial time, with                                                          for Sustainable Development’s
                                                      The Special Focus is even more
prisons and justice systems facing                                                             commitment: ‘No one will be left
                                                      relevant as we mark the 10th
unprecedented challenges, alongside                                                            behind.’ Given the trends highlighted
                                                      anniversary of the Bangkok Rules in
their communities, brought by the                                                              in this year’s report, it is crucial
                                                      December this year. We must reflect
COVID-19 global pandemic.                                                                      for member states to give special
                                                      on measures taken to address the
                                                                                               attention to populations, including
As detailed in Global Prison Trends,                  growing number of women entering
                                                                                               women, children and others who are
despite widely documented                             criminal justice systems. The
                                                                                               marginalised in justice systems, and
challenges in creating fair and                       Bangkok Rules themselves recognise
                                                                                               often in the wider community.
effective criminal justice systems,                   that prison is usually an ineffective,
there have been some positive                         and often damaging, solution to          We continue to publish Global Prison
steps taken towards the practical                     offending by women, hindering their      Trends as a tool for policy-makers,
implementation of international                       social reintegration and ability to      practitioners, a reference for
human rights standards related                        live productive and law-abiding lives    academics, and an inspiration for
to criminal justice, such as the                      following release.                       penal reform activists and human
UN Standard Minimum Rules for the                                                              rights defenders. Limited publicly
                                       As we look forward, we must more
Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson                                                             available data remains a challenge
                                       generally interrogate ourselves on
Mandela Rules) and the United                                                                  for us—and for all stakeholders who
                                       the continued growth of the overall
Nations Rules for the Treatment of                                                             rely on evidence-based policies—
                                       prison population, documented
Women Prisoners and Non-custodial                                                              however thanks to PRI’s research
                                       again in this year’s Global Prison
Measures for Women Offenders                                                                   and operations in many parts of the
                                       Trends. The few countries that have
(the Bangkok Rules). As many                                                                   globe and TIJ’s expertise we are able
                                       low numbers of people in prison
prison and probation systems face                                                              to count on first-hand information
                                       allow us to see that it is possible
common challenges, such efforts                                                                informing the trends we document
                                       to prevent crime without using
should be looked to for inspiration                                                            in this year’s report.
                                       custodial sentences as the primary
and replicated.
                                       tool. These countries remain an
Many challenges are a result of        exception, however, with too many
                                                                                               Florian Irminger Dr Kittipong Kittayarak
the increasing number of people        states reporting incredibly high
                                                                                               Executive Director   Executive Director
in prison and so 30 years on from      rates of prison overcrowding.
                                                                                               Penal Reform         Thailand Institute
the adoption of the UN Standard        Overcrowding can be life-threatening                    International        of Justice
Minimum Rules on Non-custodial         with major health issues arising due
Measures (the Tokyo Rules) this year’s to the poor detention conditions
Special Focus focuses on alternatives in overburdened prison facilities
to imprisonment. We take a look at     — today’s coronavirus pandemic
the implementation of alternatives     is a grave reminder of these
to imprisonment used and some          long-standing issues. Furthermore,
challenges facing governments.         overcrowding prevents prisons
We also look at the barriers to their  from fulfilling their proper function
expansion, a cause and consequence in the rehabilitation of offenders.
of prison remaining a response to      Many governments have looked to
crime in many countries. It is clear   reducing prison populations amid the
that non-custodial measures and        COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures
sanctions should be part of wider      should be part of a long-term reform
reforms to limit the reach of the      strategy to address overcrowding
criminal justice system. Crime         and the disproportionate numbers
prevention, decriminalisation          of marginalised people in detention.
of certain offences and diversion

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                  |3
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

     These key messages do not cover all of the trends identified in Global Prison Trends 2020, but they represent
     some of the most pertinent and pressing issues facing criminal justice systems that require urgent attention.

                                                    Over 11 million people are imprisoned globally, the highest number
     01      Record levels of people
             in prison                              yet. Around 102 countries reported prison occupancy levels of over
                                                    110 per cent. The magnitude of issues and associated human rights
                                                    violations stemming from over-imprisonment became clear in
                                                    efforts to prevent and contain outbreaks of COVID-19 in prisons.

                                                    Almost ten years since their adoption, the UN Bangkok Rules on
     02      Women face gender-
             based discrimination                   women prisoners and non-custodial alternatives for women remain
                                                    largely unimplemented. The global female prison population doubled
             in prison and the wider                in twenty years, yet justice systems and institutions remain largely
             criminal justice system                designed for a homogeneous male population.

                                                    While some countries have made strides towards child-specific
     03      New data confirms
             children are not                       justice legislation, child-friendly courts and specialised procedures,
                                                    new data estimates that at least 410,000 children remain detained
             detained ‘as a measure                 in remand centres and prisons every year, with an estimated 1 million
             of last resort’                        children held every year in police custody.

                                                    A large majority of people caught in criminal justice systems are
     04      Non-violent offences
             attract too many                       arrested for, charged with or convicted of non-violent offences.
                                                    Some legal reforms, particularly in Africa, stemmed from efforts
             prison                                 to decriminalise petty offences.
                                                    People who have not been found guilty of a crime outnumber
     05      Pre-trial detention
             is too often the norm,                 convicted people in prison in at least 46 countries. Minorities,
                                                    foreign nationals, women and the poorest people of our societies
             not the exception                      are all more likely to be detained on remand.

                                                    Prohibition-based drug policies have driven prison populations
     06      Drug policies
             contribute                             up. Over 2 million people are in prison for drug-related offences,
                                                    0.5 million of them serving a sentence for drug possession for
             to growing prison                      personal use. A larger proportion of women than men are imprisoned
             populations                            for drug offences.

                                                    Punitive systems contribute to rising prison populations by failing
     07      Imprisonment
             continues to be a                      to fulfil the rehabilitative purpose of imprisonment and by further
                                                    marginalising people from vulnerable groups. This, alongside a lack
             discriminatory cycle                   of individualised rehabilitation and sentencing plans for people
             that is hard to break                  in prison, results in high recidivism rates in many countries.

                                                    Almost half a million people are serving a formal life imprisonment
     08      Massive use of life
             sentences leads to                     sentence, with many more effectively serving life de facto. Reform
                                                    towards more proportionate sentences remains slow and several
             human rights                           countries are looking to introduce life sentences, towing the ‘tough
             violations                             on crime’ line. People serving life usually face harsh regimes.

                                                    While progress towards abolition of capital punishment continues
     09      Abolition of the death
             penalty continues but                  to be seen, most notably in Africa, long-time abolitionists are seeing
                                                    a resurgence of calls for the reinstatement of capital punishment.
             with some setbacks                     More than 20,000 people are detained on death row worldwide living
                                                    in inhumane detention conditions and often following unfair trials.

4|                                                        Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

                                                                 A comparative overview of government expenditures on prisons
10          Funding for
            penitentiary systems                                 across 54 countries shows that it usually amounts to less than
                                                                 0.3 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP). Staff and
            generally remains low                                infrastructure appear to receive the greatest share of funds
                                                                 allocated, with many countries spending alarmingly low amounts
                                                                 on food and rehabilitation programmes.

                                                                 A wide range of diversion and alternatives at the pre-trial and
11          Alternatives to
            imprisonment offer                                   post-conviction stages are available. Alongside crime prevention
                                                                 initiatives and adequately funded rehabilitation programmes, they
            a solution to global                                 can help tackle key challenges. The political backing of alternatives
            challenges, including                                to imprisonment as a response to the coronavirus pandemic need
            COVID-19                                             to be harnessed for longer-term reform.

                                                                 The key barriers to the expansion of alternatives include
12          There are a number
            of structural barriers                               inexistent or inadequate legal frameworks, lack of resources and
                                                                 infrastructure, and lack of trust in them from judicial authorities
            to the expansion                                     and the wider public. There are also certain groups that have unequal
            and implementation                                   access to community-based measures, such as foreign nationals.
            of alternatives
            to imprisonment
                                                                 People belonging to marginalised groups, including foreign nationals,
13          Marginalised people
            are over-represented                                 minorities, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and LGBTQ
                                                                 people, are disproportionately arrested and imprisoned. They face
            and neglected in prison                              greater risks of human rights violations at the hands of authorities.

                                                                 In a large number of countries there is inadequate healthcare
14          Prison health is
            deprioritised despite                                provision in prisons due to underresourcing and a lack of healthcare
                                                                 staff. Various approaches were taken by authorities to prevent
            the magnitude of                                     COVID-19 disease outbreaks in places of detention to protect both
            negative impacts                                     staff and people detained, but some have occurred.

                                                                 Low levels of job satisfaction among prison and probation staff,
15          Prison and probation
            systems lack adequate                                coupled with low pay, are common issues faced in recruiting
                                                                 and retaining sufficiently educated staff. Budget cuts, staffing
            numbers of trained                                   shortages, and increasing prison populations often lead to
            staff                                                deteriorating working conditions for staff that also affect the
                                                                 detention conditions of people in prison.

                                                                 High levels of prison overcrowding contribute to the increasing
16          Violence in detention
            is on the rise                                       number of violent incidents in prisons globally, as does institutional
                                                                 impunity and a lack of transparency. In the past decade there has
                                                                 been an increase in the use of ‘special intervention forces’—riot
                                                                 squads or ‘emergency response teams’—being employed to respond
                                                                 to major incidents like riots.

                                                                 The mortality rate for people in prison is as much as 50 per cent
17          Deaths in custody
            are common and                                       higher than for people outside. The most common causes are
                                                                 suicide and fatal violent clashes, with other reasons being torture
            preventable                                          or ill-treatment, and infectious diseases and ill-health. Investigations
                                                                 into all deaths remain lacking and, where undertaken, fail to
                                                                 achieve reform.

                                                                 Technological innovation provides many opportunities in
18          New technologies
            and AI bring benefits                                criminal justice systems, although a ‘digital gap’ excludes
                                                                 some countries, particularly in Africa. Tools using Artificial
            and new challenges                                   Intelligence (AI) technologies have led to calls for greater regulation
                                                                 and consideration of impacts before further expansion.

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                    |5
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

                Prison populations                                                            Sentencing trends

        THE GLOBAL PRISON POPULATION                                               IMPRISONMENT IS OVERUSED AND
        IS INCREASING.                                                             SENTENCES ARE GETTING LONGER.

                                                                                   0.5                                  84%

              2002                            2018                                 SENTENCES                   2000                      2014

                                             LIVING IN PRISON
                                                                                                 DEATH ROW
         50%                                 WITH THEIR
                                                                                   PEOPLE ON
        SINCE 2000

                                                                                   OFFENCES               Estimated

                                                                                   PEOPLE ARE
                                                                                   IN PRISON FOR:
        CHILDREN IN                                   million
        DETENTION                                CHILDREN IN                                              NON-VIOLENT
        FACILITIES                            POLICE CUSTODY

        PEOPLE IN
        DETENTION          3+  million
                                                                                                          20%                       20    %
                                                                                                                                    (0.5 million)
                                                                                                                                    OF THESE FOR
                                                                                   HOMICIDE              DRUG-RELATED               POSSESSION FOR
                                                                                                                                    PERSONAL USE

                                                                                   IMPRISONMENT IS A                            RECIDIVISM RATES
                                                                                   CYCLE HARD TO BREAK                               REMAIN HIGH
                                       LGBTQ persons
                                      Foreign nationals
                               Ethnic and religious minorities
                           Poor and socially excluded populations
                                  People in police custody

              CONTINUE TO BE DISCRIMINATORY.                                              MASS IMPRISONMENT IS EXPENSIVE.

6|                                                                  Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

                              Funding                                                            Detention conditions

     FUNDING FOR MOST CRIMINAL                                                             DETENTION CONDITIONS ARE
     JUSTICE SYSTEMS IS TOO LOW.                                                           SUBSTANDARD IN MANY COUNTRIES.

                                                                                           PRISONS IN
                                                    Police                                 EXCEED THEIR MAXIMUM
                                                                                           OCCUPANCY RATE
                                                                                                                         THIS LEADS TO:
                                                                                                                         Higher rates of death in custody
                                                                                                                               Lack of healthcare
     Infrastructure                  Staff                      Security                                                 Low rehabilitation opportunities

                                                  AVERAGE TOTAL                            RATE IN                      SUICIDE IN        SUICIDE IN THE
                                                  EXPENDITURE ON                           PRISONS                      CUSTODY              COMMUNITY
     OF GDP                                       PRISONS IN THE
                                                  EUROPEAN UNION
                                                                                           IS HIGH
                                                                                                          per 100,000
                                                                                                                                       per 100,000

                                                                                                         PRISONERS                   PERSONS

              FOOD BUDGET                        PER DAY                                   USE OF                               Expanding involvement
                                             PER PRISONER IN:                                                               of the private security sector
                   AS LO AS
                                                  Cambodia                                 IS A RISING                             Expanding use
                                                                                                                              of special interventions
                                                    Central                                TREND
                                               African Republic                                                               Increasing use of heavy
                                                 Kazakhstan                                                                  equipment lethal weapons

     LOW FUNDING LEADS TO POOR DETENTION                                                   POOR DETENTION CONDITIONS LEAD TO
     CONDITIONS AND A LACK OF HEALTHCARE.                                                           HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

           THEY DO NOT SEPARATE FAMILIES                                                       THEY HELP REDUCE OVERCROWDING

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                                     |7
GLOBAL PRISON TRENDS 2020 - Alternatives to imprisonment Special Focus Pull-out section - Penal Reform International

     Photo caption to go here.

                                                           Studies strongly suggest
                                                        that there is no link
                                                         between the number of
                                                        people in prison and levels
                                                        of crime.

     Prison in Italy.

8|                                     Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020

Part one


Crime and
There are more than 11 million                         imprisoned, followed by Brazil          use, resulting in just under half
people estimated to be in prison                       where, based on figures from            a million in prison for that offence.5
on any given day globally. This figure                 June 2019, the prison population        Conversely, data from 93 countries
excludes police or administrative                      approaches 760,000.                     suggest that roughly one out of
custody and also does not show the                                                             every 14 prisoners worldwide
                                                       Studies strongly suggest that there
actual number of people that move                                                              (7 per cent) had been convicted
                                                       is no link between the number of
in and out of prison in a given year,                                                          of homicide.6
                                                       people in prison and levels of crime.
which remains undetermined. Global
                                                       Some research has suggested             Understanding and measuring
prison rates remain stable, although
                                                       that links can be made between          levels of crime at the global level
there have been ‘substantial
                                                       reduced welfare systems and             is complex and an ongoing area
changes’ in some countries
                                                       increased imprisonment rates, and       of research. One crime where
and regions. The World Prison
                                                       correspondingly between levels          comparisons are possible and
Population List of 2018 reports
                                                       of social inequality and increased      undertaken is intentional homicide,
that prison population levels per
                                                       imprisonment rates. There has           which is used as an indicator
head of population rose less than
                                                       also been a link made between           on violent deaths and therefore
1 per cent over three years between
                                                       inclusionary or exclusionary            can suggest levels of crime and
                                                       political frameworks and increased      violence in a society. In 2019,
The United States has the highest                      imprisonment rates.4 Low acquittal      the UN published a new Global
absolute number of people in prison                    rates, including due to a lack of       Study on Homicide, analysing data
globally, with over 2.1 million people                 procedural rights, in some countries    collected in 2017. While at the
in prison at a rate of 655 people per                  serve to consistently feed people       global level there is an ongoing
100,000 of the national population,                    into prison systems.                    decline in intentional homicide,
yet rates of violent crime continue                                                            in the Americas there was a historic
                                                       Data suggests that a significant
to fall.2 The country has witnessed                                                            high recorded in 2017 (since data
                                                       proportion of people caught
a 700 per cent imprisonment                                                                    collection began in 1990), with a
                                                       in criminal justice systems are
population increase since 1970,                                                                rate of 17.2 victims of intentional
                                                       arrested for, charged with or
with a peak in 2009, and a small                                                               homicide per 100,000 population.7
                                                       convicted of non-violent offences.
decline overall each year since
                                                       In 2017, the estimated number
then owing to reductions in some
                                                       of people arrested or suspected
states and recently at the federal
                                                       of drug possession globally
level.3 China has the second highest
                                                       was 1.9 million, with 860,000 of
prison population globally, with
                                                       those people being convicted
an estimated 1.7 million people
                                                       for drug possession for personal

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                |9

       Cycles of
       International standards are clear               about 40 per cent of people released                 a higher risk of reoffending after
       that the purpose of a prison                    from prison are reimprisoned in the                  prison than adults;10 and in Japan,
       sentence, or a non-custodial                    two years following their release.                   older persons have comparably
       sanction, should be primarily                   The reconviction rate after two                      higher reoffending rates than
       rehabilitative. The International               years post-release from prison is                    other adults.11
       Covenant on Civil and Political                 higher than 60 per cent in such
                                                                                                            Upon release, people who have
       Rights, ratified by 172 UN member               countries as Sweden, Denmark and
                                                                                                            been in prison are often left with
       states, is explicit in its statement            New Zealand.9
                                                                                                            few resources, no educational
       that the ‘penitentiary system shall
                                                       There are many factors which                         or employment prospects and
       comprise treatment of prisoners,
                                                       influence whether a person will                      sometimes nowhere to live; they
       the essential aim of which shall
                                                       reoffend, but recidivism is invariably               also face discrimination when
       be their reformation and social
                                                       linked to difficulties people face                   applying for jobs or seeking housing.
       rehabilitation.’ The UN Nelson
                                                       in re-establishing themselves as                     Their marginalisation from society
       Mandela Rules and UN Bangkok
                                                       law-abiding citizens after their                     leads to a higher risk of antisocial
       Rules set out how prison systems
                                                       release. This is often because they                  behaviour and the likelihood
       can fulfil this commitment
                                                       were not provided with adequate                      of reoffending.
       including by the provision of
                                                       rehabilitation and reintegration
       a range of rehabilitation and                                                                        In England and Wales in 2016,
                                                       opportunities in prison (sometimes
       reintegration opportunities.                                                                         two-thirds of homeless people
                                                       due to prison overcrowding) or
                                                                                                            who had previously been imprisoned
       In most parts of the world, however,            appropriate post-release support.
                                                                                                            reoffended within a year after
       imprisonment continues to be a                  Families and communities also need
                                                                                                            their release.12 In other countries,
       cycle that is hard to break, not least          to be better prepared so they can
                                                                                                            figures show that reoffending rates
       due to punitive systems that fail to            assist in reintegration efforts.
                                                                                                            increase over time, as institutional
       provide a rehabilitative approach.
                                                       Certain groups have higher                           support wanes. For instance, in
       In El Salvador, the country with the
                                                       reoffending rates than                               Israel, reimprisonment increased
       second-highest prison population
                                                       others, which may be linked                          from 18 per cent within one year
       rate per capita globally, about
                                                       to the lack of individualised                        to 41 per cent within five years.13
       one in five individuals in prison
                                                       treatment programmes, such as                        In the US, 83 per cent of released
       has been convicted of a criminal
                                                       age-appropriate support. The                         detainees are rearrested within nine
       offence before.8 In Australia and
                                                       Central Statistics Office of Ireland                 years, compared to 44 per cent in
       the Canadian province of Quebec,
                                                       reported that young people had                       the first year.14

          European Court on Human                                              Overcrowding levels are even higher in some facilities, with
          Rights orders France to act on                                       at least one prison in which the number of people held doubled
                                                                               the beds available.19 Several of the people who were part of this
          prison overcrowding and pay                                          case had been detained for years in overcrowded cells, with an
          out compensation                                                     allocated personal space below the recommended desirable
                                                                               standard of 4 square metres set by the European Committee
         In January 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
                                                                               on the Prevention of Torture.20
         ruled that France violated people’s rights for holding them in
         overcrowded prisons in conditions that constituted a violation        The court also noted a lack of privacy and inadequate facilities
         of the prohibition of inhumane and degrading treatment. The           for hygiene—with toilets separated from the rest of the room by
         Court ordered France to pay damages to 32 people from six             only a curtain, mattresses on the floor right next to the toilets,
         prisons in France and its overseas territories in Martinique,         and pest infested buildings and cells. The situation was further
         French Polynesia and Guadeloupe.15 The damages payable                aggravated by a lack of activities and out-of-cell time, with
         range from EUR €4,000 to 25,000 each, totalling more than             some people in prison locked in their cells for more than twenty
         €500,000.16 The case built on the Court’s rulings against Italy       hours a day.
         and Hungary, in which systemic overcrowding prompted the              Notably the European Court ruled that the inhumane and
         adoption of pilot judgements requiring the states to effectively      degrading conditions stemmed from the overall overcrowding
         address the underlying causes and impacts.                            situation in French prisons and made recommendations to
         Prison overcrowding is described by the Contrôleure générale          eliminate such levels—a decision that was widely covered in the
         des lieux de privation de liberté—the French independent              French media. In response, the Ministry of Justice reported the
         prison monitoring mechanism—as ‘endemic’ 17 with an overall           ongoing expansion of the prison estate and that an additional
         prison capacity at 116 per cent, one of the highest in Europe.18      7,000 prison places are currently under construction.21

10 |                                                                   Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020

The overuse of pre-trial detention                     Moves to reduce recidivism require      Republic reported record-low
(see Pre-trial detention) and                          a shift in perspective on criminal      reoffending rates among people
short-term prison sentences also                       justice and prisons, from punitive      released from prison.22
contribute to high recidivism                          to rehabilitative approaches.
                                                                                               Some of these efforts are not
rates. Due to their temporary and                      While on the one hand, some
                                                                                               new, and there is proof of their
short-term nature, short prison                        countries have increased the
                                                                                               effectiveness in recidivism rates.
sentences leave little space for                       number of offences carrying the
                                                                                               For example, Norway underwent
rehabilitation and reintegration                       sentence of life imprisonment
                                                                                               a series of penal reforms in the
programmes, yet they can                               and there is a general lengthening
                                                                                               late 1990s, shifting the focus from
have long-lasting, detrimental                         of prison terms contributing to
                                                                                               punishment to rehabilitation, in
consequences for people affected                       high prison occupancy levels.
                                                                                               order to ‘plan [the detainees’]
and their families. For instance,                      On the other hand, some countries
                                                                                               release on the first day they
loss of employment, divorce,                           have made significant steps
                                                                                               arrive’.23 These reforms included
loss of custody or joint custody                       towards a rehabilitative approach
                                                                                               well-kept infrastructure and
of children, and loss of national                      to sentences. Many states are
                                                                                               improved living conditions;
benefits are common.                                   providing more opportunities for
                                                                                               recreational, educational and
                                                       probation and parole, and they
The development of alternatives                                                                professional activities and support;
                                                       provide educational, vocational
to pre-trial detention and                                                                     contact with the outside world,
                                                       and social programmes which
non-custodial sentences are one                                                                including work opportunities
                                                       take into account the plurality of
of the most effective ways of                                                                  and more opportunities to spend
                                                       detained individuals’ profiles, such
reducing prison overcrowding and                                                               time with their families. They
                                                       as their ages, previous convictions,
reducing recidivism, but it is not                                                             contributed to bringing the overall
                                                       socio-economic status and
without potential setbacks and                                                                 reimprisonment rate two years after
                                                       family backgrounds. Open prisons
continues to require resources to                                                              release to 20 per cent, one of the
                                                       have also proven to be one such
ensure programmes are effectively                                                              world’s lowest.24
                                                       measure that improve rehabilitation
monitored and evaluated. (See
                                                       prospects. For example, in 2019,
Special Focus: Alternatives
                                                       the first open prison in the Czech
to imprisonment)

Drug policies
Figures on the number of people                        Approximately 20 per cent of them,      such policies tend to imprison
who use drugs worldwide show                           constituting 0.5 million people,        drug users or the low-level dealers
that decades of policies to punish                     are serving sentences for drug          (micro-traffickers, i.e. people who
consumption have failed. In 2017,                      possession for personal use. In         move or deal drugs at a community
there were an estimated 271                            some states, there is mandatory         level rather than internationally).
million people, or 5.5 per cent of                     pre-trial detention for drug-related    Furthermore, there is evidence
the global population aged 16-64,                      offences, regardless of their nature,   that people belonging to certain
who had used drugs in the previous                     including in Bolivia, Brazil and        groups are disproportionately
year—a 30 per cent rise from 2009.                     Ecuador.26                              targeted, arrested and imprisoned
According to the UN World Drug                                                                 under drug laws. For instance, racial
                                                       Ruth Dreifuss, the former President
Report 2019, the number of people                                                              discrimination and heavy policing
                                                       of Switzerland and member of the
who are thought to ‘suffer from drug                                                           of black neighbourhoods are
                                                       Global Commission on Drugs, has
use disorders’ is now estimated to                                                             factors given for the high number
                                                       written that: ‘Prison is the most
be 35.5 million—15 per cent higher                                                             of black people in US prisons for
                                                       glaring expression of the failures
than the previous estimate of                                                                  drug-related offences. A research
                                                       of prohibition-based drug policies
30.5 million.25                                                                                project in Texas found that the high
                                                       … Above all, incarceration is the
                                                                                               proportion of arrests of black people
Prison remains a common response                       epitome of the human cost of these
                                                                                               for possession of small quantities
to drug use in many countries                          failed policies.’27
                                                                                               of drugs was linked to the fact that
around the world, with crisis
                                                       Where prison has remained the           traffic stops and searches targeted
levels of overcrowding becoming
                                                       norm for drug-related offences,         black drivers more frequently.28
the norm. Approximately one in
                                                       there is an ever-increasing body
five people in prison worldwide,                                                               Women continue to be
                                                       of research demonstrating that,
totalling over 2 million people, are                                                           disproportionately impacted by drug
                                                       rather than imprisoning high-level
in prison for drug-related offences.                                                           policies, demonstrated by the fact
                                                       figures in drug trafficking rings,

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                               | 11

       that a larger proportion of women       convicted of low-level drug-related                In the Philippines, 2019 represented
       (35 per cent) than men (19 per cent)    offences in England and Wales,                     the third year of President Duterte’s
       are in prison for drug-related          Germany and New Zealand.                           ‘war on drugs’, which has resulted
       offences globally.29 A number of                                                           in thousands of deaths. Although
                                               Drug offences remain punishable
       countries are driving these numbers                                                        the exact number is unknown,
                                               by death in at least 35 countries and
       up, including Ecuador, for instance,                                                       according to the Philippine National
                                               territories worldwide. In January
       where women convicted of                                                                   Police (PNP), there were 6,600 ‘drug
                                               2020, civil society groups called for
       drug‑related offences accounted                                                            personalities’ killed between July
                                               international action in the cases of
       for 52.9 per cent of the female                                                            2016 and the end of May 2019.32
                                               two Bahraini men convicted of drug
       imprisoned population in 201830 and                                                        In 2019, the UN mandated an
                                               trafficking and smuggling when their
       in Thailand, where the rate went                                                           investigation into the human rights
                                               death sentences were upheld by the
       as high as 84 per cent. On the other                                                       situation, joining the International
                                               country’s highest court. Elsewhere,
       hand, PRI’s research has shown that                                                        Criminal Court’s efforts to enhance
                                               in Singapore, data shows that
       non-custodial sanctions are the                                                            accountability by documenting
                                               84 per cent of the total executions
       most common sentences for women                                                            and investigating violations of
                                               between 2014—mid-2019 were for
                                                                                                  human rights.
                                               drug cases.31

       Responses to violent
       extremism and prevention
       of radicalisation
       Responses to violent extremism          individuals who are in fact not guilty             limited training in in human rights
       and the prevention of radicalisation    of any ‘violent extremism’ or of acts              and radicalisation appraisal, among
       that leads to violence, including       of terrorism.34                                    other features of the regime.35
       in prisons, remains a key priority
                                               Vague and far-reaching definitions                 There have been several recent
       for many governments and a
                                               can also trigger criminal justice                  high-profile incidents in a few
       major issue of discussion at the
                                               processes unnecessarily. They can                  countries that sparked public
       international level.
                                               lead to individuals sentenced for                  debate about rehabilitation
       Defining what constitutes ‘violent      ‘extremism’-related offences being                 initiatives for people convicted
       extremism’ or ‘radicalisation’          allocated to detention facilities with             of terrorist-related offences.
       continues to raise human rights         people convicted and sentenced                     In England, a participant in a
       concerns. In March 2020, the            for terrorism and other violent                    prison-university partnership
       UN Special Rapporteur on the            offences. Such situations lead to                  programme fatally attacked two
       promotion and protection of human       legitimate risks of radicalisation                 people at a rehabilitation event in
       rights while countering terrorism       that may lead to violence, in turn                 late 2019. In May 2019, 20 prisoners
       expressed ‘grave concerns about         weakening counterterrorism efforts.                and 3 prison officers were killed
       the use of the terminology of                                                              in Tajikistan during a prison riot
                                               People convicted of terrorism-
       “extremism” and its expanding ambit’                                                       instigated by a group of so-called
                                               related offences or perceived
       and underlined that ‘the category                                                          ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the
                                               to be at risk of radicalisation
       of “extremist” crimes is particularly                                                      Levant’ (ISIL) members, according
                                               are commonly segregated from
       vague and problematic’ with abuse                                                          to authorities. Two months earlier
                                               the general prison population.
       of ‘extremism’ law and practice                                                            in France, a prisoner and his wife
                                               In Belgium, individual security
       potentially leading to sustained                                                           stabbed two prison officers in
                                               regimes or measures, including the
       human rights violations.33                                                                 an attack that was labelled as
                                               so-called ‘D-Rad:Ex wings’ used
                                                                                                  ‘terrorism’ by the authorities.36
       Such issues were raised in 2016 by      for people including those ‘flagged’
       the UN Human Rights Committee           as showing signs of radicalisation,                One key issue that has received
       who called on Kazakhstan to revise      were criticised by the UN Special                  further attention is the situation
       broad formulation of concepts           Rapporteur on the promotion                        of the estimated 4,640 children
       of ‘extremism’, ‘inciting social or     and protection of human rights                     who travelled to Iraq or Syria, either
       class hatred’ and ‘religious hatred     and fundamental freedoms while                     alone or with their families, to join
       or enmity’ contained in the country’s   countering terrorism in March                      so-called ISIL. Around 1,460 children
       legislation. The Committee was          2019. Concerns included the role                   who were either born in Iraq or
       concerned that without a narrowing      of prison officers’ evaluation in the              Syria to parents who left their home
       of such concepts they can be            radicalisation assessment process,                 countries to join ISIL, or travelled
       used to limit freedoms or target        especially since they often have                   with them to Iraq or Syria have since

12 |                                                         Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020

returned to their parents’ countries                   Kingdom have sought to strip those    The Council of Europe (CoE)
of origin (or their countries of                       involved in terrorist groups of       Parliamentary Assembly adopted
origin).37 There has been a mixed                      their nationality.                    a resolution in January 2020
response by governments to this                                                              calling on States to ensure the
                                                       Where countries do meet their
group of children, despite the basic                                                         immediate repatriation of children
                                                       obligations to repatriate children,
requirement of international human                                                           who are citizens of their member
                                                       the treatment upon their return
rights law that they are responsible                                                         states.39 PRI, together with the
                                                       similarly varies. Kazakhstan
for their citizens, including to                                                             Child Justice Advocacy Group,
                                                       is working to support women
repatriate them.                                                                             published a position paper, ‘Bringing
                                                       and children returning with the
                                                                                             Children Home: A children’s rights
Kazakhstan has worked to repatriate                    Ministry of Education cooperating
                                                                                             approach to returning from ISIL’,40
significant numbers; as of the end                     with two non-governmental
                                                                                             which details key issues and
of 2019, 406 children had returned                     organisations (NGOs) to open
                                                                                             recommendations to protect the
from Iraq and Syria to the country.                    17 regional rehabilitation and
                                                                                             human rights of children who
A dramatically different policy                        reintegration centres across
                                                                                             remain in refugee camps in Iraq and
has been adopted in other states,                      the country. Denmark’s model
                                                                                             Syria. As of May 2019, 90 per cent
with litigation pending in several                     involves multi-sectoral cooperation
                                                                                             of the 73,000 people living in the
European countries over the                            and specialised psychological
                                                                                             al-Hol camp in Syria were women
repatriation of ‘foreign fighters’                     counselling, albeit alongside
                                                                                             and children.
and their children, including                          a policy of prosecution for any
the Netherlands and Germany.38                         returnees suspected of having
Switzerland and the United                             committed crimes.

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                             | 13

       Prison cell in Honduras.

                                  The data available shows
                             penitentiary systems
                                  generally receive low levels of
                             funding; it also suggests that
                                  amounts spent on food can be
                             alarmingly low.

14 |                                             Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020

Part two


Funding of
penitentiary systems
Prison systems need to be                              necessary infrastructure and               between countries and the common
adequately resourced if they are                       equipment to recruitment, training         lack of transparency make it difficult
to run smoothly. In order to reduce                    and salaries for staff.                    to know what prison budgets cover,
recidivism and keep society safe,                                                                 data suggests that amounts spent
                                                       It is difficult to quantify the
authorities need to meet costs for                                                                on food can be alarmingly low. In
                                                       amount of money spent on criminal
providing a conducive environment                                                                 Kazakhstan, out of the total budget
                                                       justice systems, and specifically
for rehabilitation and meet the                                                                   for 2019 of EUR €7.76 (KZT 3,314)
                                                       penitentiary systems, at the global
wide-ranging needs of people                                                                      allocated per person in prison per
                                                       level. One reason for this is the lack
detained. However, many prison                                                                    day, EUR €1.41 (KZT 603) is for food—
                                                       of transparency. Information is not
systems have so few resources                                                                     although this amount has been
                                                       always readily available or complete,
that they struggle to meet basic                                                                  almost doubled in recent years. In
                                                       and sometimes this is justified on
needs such as food, healthcare,                                                                   Cambodia, the amount allocated
                                                       the grounds that it is a national
clothing and even shelter in a safe,                                                              for food per prisoner per day was
                                                       security matter.
hygienic environment, let alone                                                                   reported to be less than EUR €1
a rehabilitative-focused regime.                       Where data is available, it shows          (KHR 3500) and about the same
                                                       that, with a few exceptions,               amount is planned in the Central
In many countries, authorities
                                                       penitentiary systems generally             African Republic for 2020.
rely on families, NGOs or religious
                                                       receive low levels of funding,
organisations to provide food,                                                                    Unsurprisingly staff and
                                                       demonstrating that prisons
healthcare services and other                                                                     infrastructure appear to be
                                                       remain a low political priority.
essentials for people in prison. In                                                               the main costs for prisons. In
                                                       A comparative overview of
Niger, no food is provided to people                                                              France, around 41 per cent of the
                                                       government expenditures on
in pre-trial detention (representing                                                              penitentiary administration’s 2017
                                                       prisons across 54 countries shows
more than half of the prison                                                                      budget was dedicated to staff,
                                                       that it usually amounts to less than
population) so they are entirely                                                                  administrative and operational
                                                       0.3 per cent of their gross domestic
dependent on their family members                                                                 costs. In Italy, the proportion is
                                                       product (GDP).43 For instance,
to deliver food and water.41 In Yemen,                                                            higher, with 76 per cent of the
                                                       in 2017 the European Union (EU)
PRI provided medicines to treat the                                                               penitentiary administration’s 2019
                                                       28 member states’ spending on
cholera outbreak in a prison in 2017.                                                             budget being allocated to personnel
                                                       prisons averaged 0.2 per cent of
The International Committee of the                                                                costs.46 In South Africa, employee
                                                       national GDP. Spending on police
Red Cross (ICRC) often supports                                                                   compensation and payment for
                                                       services averaged 0.9 per cent
and sometimes supplements public                                                                  buildings and other fixed structures
                                                       of national GDPs.44
authorities in providing basic food                                                               amounted to 74 per cent of the
and healthcare in prisons all over                     The general amount allocated               Department of Correctional
the world, including for instance                      per prisoner varies greatly across         Services’ 2018-19 budget.47
in Nigeria where it provided food                      countries (see overleaf). In North
                                                                                                  Numerous countries have seen
supplies to 6,000 people in prison                     Macedonia, about EUR €17 a day—
                                                                                                  their prison budget as a proportion
in 2018.42                                             the lowest amount in Europe—was
                                                                                                  of GDP decrease over the last few
                                                       spent on each prisoner in 2017,
There are also significant financial                                                              years. Figures show that India’s
                                                       while at the other end of the
costs associated with safety                                                                      budget for prisons in absolute terms
                                                       spectrum, Sweden spent €380 a day
and security, from maintaining                                                                    rose between 2014-18; however,
                                                       per prisoner.45 While differences

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                   | 15

        when the figures are taken as a                         those in prison and their families,                      diminishing funds allocated to the
        proportion of the country’s GDP,                        as well as for staff. Budget                             criminal justice system in recent
        there is a decrease in the proportion                   cuts have resulted in increased                          years. The Moroccan penitentiary
        allocated, despite an increase in                       violence, including assaults against                     administration warned that the
        the number of people in prison.48                       staff, a decrease or complete                            number of new staff posts to be
        Similar trends are observed in                          cut in available rehabilitation                          created in 2020 was ‘not sufficient
        Burkina Faso, South Africa and                          programmes, less opportunities                           to cover the imperious human
        the Slovak Republic.49                                  for contact with the outside world                       resources needs’.50
                                                                and reductions in healthcare
        When penitentiary systems have                                                                                   Increasing levels of self-harm,
                                                                and other basic services. In
        their funding reduced, there is a                                                                                violence and suicide in prisons can
                                                                England and Wales, civil society
        wide range of consequences for                                                                                   be consequences of budgetary
                                                                organisations have denounced the

        These figures are illustrative based on publicly available information.* Given the discrepancies on the details of data available, the
        figures in this visual are not intended to be used for a strict comparison. Rather they intend to illustrate the wide variance in funding
        of penitentiary systems. Figures were either calculated by PRI based on data gathered from national and international authorities;
        or taken directly from already aggregated data, where available.

          CANADA           MOROCCO           ITALY        CZECH REPUBLIC              UKRAINE             TURKEY             ARMENIA       KAZAKHSTAN             MONGOLIA
          2018-19†            2020            2019                  2017                 2017                2019               2017              2019                2017
       327.13                  7.53 131.39                         46.06                 7.54               11.92               11.11               7.78           24.63

         JAMAICA                                                                                                                                                   MYANMAR
          2019-20                                                                                                                                                      2017
         36.00                                                                                                                                                            1.04
       PARAGUAY                                              CÔTE D’IVOIRE                                   PAKISTAN         SINGAPORE                           THAILAND
            2019                                                      2019                                     2019-20              2019                               2017
            7.73                                                       0.71                                       0.01          103.01                                    2.13
       ARGENTINA                                   SOUTH AFRICA          ZIMBABWE            UGANDA          TANZANIA                                         NEW ZEALAND
            2019                                         2018-19              2019           2019-20           2019-20                                                2019
           11.67                                         25.83                 1.07            3.08              5.90                                            350.96

        *S ources include national financial authorities (budget and finance ministries); national prison services; international financial authorities (government
          expenditures on prisons – as gathered by Eurostat and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)); Council of Europe SPACE statistics; and civil society reports.
        † Canada: figure applicable to people imprisoned at the federal level.
16 |                                                                               Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020

pressure.51 In Kenya, a series                         changes, and broader societal             increased prison populations is
of prison visits by the National                       costs, would push this estimate           earmarked for building or expanding
Commission on Human Rights found                       higher still.                             prison estates. For example,
that issues such as overcrowding,                                                                in Morocco, MAD 160.7 million
                                                       One measure to save or limit public
poor sanitary conditions and lack                                                                (EUR €15.2 million) will be allocated
                                                       spending on prisons has been to
of nutritionally adequate food                                                                   in 2020 to investments in the prison
                                                       involve the private sector in Public
were ‘mainly linked to the limited                                                               estate although only a tenth of that
                                                       Private Partnerships (PPPs) to
budgetary allocations to the Kenya                                                               (MAD 10.3 million) will be put towards
                                                       deliver some or all operations of
Prisons Service’.52                                                                              reintegration efforts.57 A new plan
                                                       facilities. Proponents maintain that
                                                                                                 to build 10,000 new prison places
Beyond the direct costs of                             privatising prisons reduces the
                                                                                                 in England and Wales received
imprisonment, such as those                            burden of imprisonment on public
                                                                                                 GBP £2.5 billion (EUR €2.9 billion)
associated with infrastructure                         expenditures, however several
                                                                                                 in funding from the Government.58
or operations, there are indirect                      studies in recent years have shown
                                                                                                 As a comparison, the total amount
costs including those incurred                         that the value of private prisons was
                                                                                                 spent in 2018 on probation services
by families of people in prison.                       far from evident.55 They pointed to
                                                                                                 was about GBP £824 million
Such indirect costs ‘are difficult                     further issues such as the risk of
                                                                                                 (EUR €917.5 million).59
to measure but … are immense                           lower prison management standards
and long-term.’53 Recently, the                        and cost-cutting measures made at         Most data available suggests
think-tank Prison Policy Initiative                    the expense of the welfare of people      that the costs of non-custodial
took up the challenge to quantify                      in prison, which can affect the           measures or sanctions are lower
the real total cost of imprisonment                    prison system as a whole as public        than holding someone in detention.
in the US concluding that while                        facilities try to align themselves;       For instance, the US Bureau of
public corrections agencies                            the risk of having operational            Prisons estimated that in 2017, it
reported a total budget of US$80.7                     limitations (e.g. contractual             cost US$99 (EUR €91.38) a day per
billion (EUR €74.5 billion) for the                    agreements against overcrowding           person in prison facilities, against
year 2017, the real total cost of                      in private prisons) fall back on          $89 (EUR €89.15) in residential
imprisonment in the country                            public prison authorities with            re-entry centres. In France the
amounted to US$182 billion (EUR                        further direct costs; or the general      average daily cost of imprisonment
€168 billion) a year.54 This figure                    risk of making imprisonment a             per person is about EUR €105 a
took into account private facilities,                  for-profit investment. In December        day, compared with a daily cost of
policing costs, bail fees and the cost                 2019, Malaysian rights groups             around €33 per day for someone
for families such as telephone calls                   and lawmakers reasserted these            serving probation.60 Despite this,
or the price of prison visits, among                   concerns, after their government          many countries continue to fund
others. The long-lasting impacts of                    announced that it was considering         building and running of prisons
imprisonment on peoples’ lives,                        turning to private prisons to reduce      over developing probation systems.
including with regard to health,                       overcrowding.56                           (See Special Focus: Alternatives
personal finances, employment                                                                    to imprisonment)
                                                       In other countries, increased
                                                       funding for penitentiary systems
                                                       to respond to overcrowding or

Pre-trial detention
Rates of pre-trial detention                           down in the UN Standard Minimum           pre-trial detention as of November
continue to increase around                            Rules for Non-custodial Measures          2018. This phenomenon does not
the world with people who have                         (Tokyo Rules).                            only impact low-income countries.
not been found guilty of a crime                                                                 In Canada, there were 50 per cent
                                                       Niger is reported to have 60 per
outnumbering convicted people                                                                    more adults in pre-trial detention
                                                       cent of the prison population
in prison in at least 46 countries,                                                              than in sentenced custody from
                                                       awaiting trial, with similar figures
with many of these facing seriously                                                              2017-18.62
                                                       in Liberia where at least 64.2 per
high levels of prison overcrowding.61
                                                       cent of detainees were still awaiting     One reason for the high rates of
This is despite a global commitment
                                                       trial in April 2019. The proportion       pre-trial detention is the fact that
to using pre-trial detention as
                                                       of people on remand is even higher        automatic pre-trial detention
a measure of last resort, as set
                                                       in Cambodia with 72 per cent of           for certain crimes continues
                                                       people in prison being held in            unchallenged. In February 2019,

Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020                                                  | 17

       Mexico expanded the list of crimes      conditions, or to be able to afford               been moves by several states
       which are automatically subject         good legal representation.66 In                   to limit or eliminate cash bail
       to pre-trial detention for up to two    Madagascar, for instance, where                   following California’s 2018 reform.
       years without bail,63 a measure         pre-trial detainees make up 56 per                Most recently, New York State
       likely to further impact people         cent of the prison population,67                  abolished cash bail payments
       who are poor and indigenous             Amnesty International found that                  for many misdemeanours and
       communities. Even prior to this         the majority of those surveyed were               non-violent felonies, to be replaced
       legislative change, 97 per cent         from poor, rural areas, lacked formal             with less restrictive measures
       of people in prison belonging to        education and were underinformed                  such as supervised release, travel
       indigenous communities were being       of their rights.68                                restriction or electronic monitoring.
       detained pre-trial.64                                                                     The Vera Institute of Justice has
                                               Racial minorities are
                                                                                                 estimated that, if this new law is
       High numbers of people are held         overrepresented in the pre-trial
                                                                                                 implemented correctly, it could
       on remand on drug-related charges       prison population in certain
                                                                                                 lead to a 40 per cent reduction in
       in a number of jurisdictions where      countries. In the US, there are
                                                                                                 New York State’s pre-trial detention
       prohibitionist drug policies have       clear racial disparities in decisions
                                                                                                 population.72 In Illinois, after a 2017
       brought automatic pre-trial             about who is detained before trial.
                                                                                                 law limited the use of cash bail for
       detention, even for possession          The Prison Policy Initiative has
                                                                                                 non-violent and low-level offences,
       and other low-level drug offences.      reported that young black men are
                                                                                                 the State’s Governor announced in
       (See Drug policies). Women are          about 50 per cent more likely to
                                                                                                 January 2020 a move to end the
       disproportionately affected by such     be detained on remand than white
                                                                                                 practice altogether.73
       policies because they are more          defendants. Additionally, non-white
       likely than men to be arrested for      defendants receive bail amounts                   Pre-trial detention has a
       drug-related crimes.                    that are twice as high as bail set                devastating effect on those
                                               for white defendants and are also                 subjected to it, their families and
       Statistics from the past few
                                               less likely to be able to afford it.69            communities. A recent study in
       years show that in Peru, Ecuador,
                                               Black and American Indian women                   Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia
       Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile
                                               are also overrepresented in US                    showed a serious socio-economic
       around half of women are in
                                               pre-trial facilities.                             impact on people in prison and
       pre-trial detention for drug-related
                                                                                                 their dependents. For example, in
       offences.65                             Studies point to it being ‘virtually
                                                                                                 Zambia, more than half of families
                                               impossible’ for foreign nationals
       More evidence has emerged                                                                 interviewed had to sell an asset
                                               to avoid pre-trial detention.70 New
       that pre-trial detention also                                                             such as land or livestock to mitigate
                                               data from Chile, for instance, shows
       disproportionately affects the                                                            the financial impact of detention.74
                                               that 73 per cent of foreign women
       poorest members of society,                                                               In Pollsmoor prison, South Africa,
                                               in prison were yet to be convicted.71
       foreign nationals, racial minorities,                                                     where 60 per cent of pre-trial
       indigenous groups and those with        The disproportionate number                       admissions are for non-violent
       mental health conditions. People        of people from poor and socially                  offences, a new study shows almost
       from backgrounds of disadvantage        excluded populations in pre-trial                 half of survey respondents saying
       are more likely to be arrested          detention is unsurprising when                    they had been forced to take out
       and to be detained pre-trial; they      many countries operate systems                    loans to cover their losses related
       are less likely to have the means       of cash bail in lieu of pre-trial                 to their detention.75
       to pay bail or comply with other        detention. In the US, there have

       Death penalty
       The global movement towards             of the last remaining 22 people                   announced willingness to consider
       universal abolition of the death        on death row in the country to life               abolition of capital punishment,
       penalty continued to progress in        imprisonment.76 In Uganda, the                    at least for five of the six offences
       2019. Angola ratified and Armenia       mandatory death sentence was                      for which it can be handed down
       signed the Second Optional              removed from a number of laws                     for. The President of Kazakhstan
       Protocol to the International           (including the Penal Code and the                 also announced a move towards
       Covenant on Civil and Political         Anti-Terrorism Act),77 ten years                  total abolition, in a country that
       Rights, the only binding global         after the Supreme Court ruled that                still retains it for exceptional
       instrument on the abolition of          capital punishment should not be                  crimes even though a moratorium
       the death penalty. The Gambia           mandatory in murder cases. In                     prevents executions.
       commuted the death sentences            Ghana in early 2020, the President

18 |                                                        Penal Reform International and Thailand Institute of Justice | Global Prison Trends 2020
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