By protecting the rights of prisoners, UN Peacekeeping promotes faith in a country’s legal system and the long-term stability it fosters.
UN Corrections Officers and Sudanese officials talk to female inmates in the women's section of the Torit prison in Southern Sudan.
In times of conflict, people deprived of their liberty are often overlooked, disregarded or denied their rights. UN Peacekeeping works to ensure prisoners are not forgotten. Many systems of justice entail punishment by imprisonment, but there are standards that this punishment must meet.
Problems with prisons in post-conflict areas
Very often prisons take the lowest priority in post-conflict environments. As a result, they typically suffer from:
- extreme overcrowding
- lack of food
- absence of adequate medical care and poor sanitation
- poor management and security
In addition, political interference is often rampant and oversight mechanisms non-existent or biased. Many people are subject to prolonged pre-trial detention.
How does this impact peace and security?
If the above problems are not effectively addressed, the result can be starvation, ill-health and other abuses of detainees, increasing the likelihood of riots and mass escapes. This can have an adverse impact on an already fragile peace.
How does UN Peacekeeping help?
We work to assist national prison systems to keep prison inmates in safe and secure custody under humane conditions:
- Advising national prison authorities on institutional restructuring;
- Providing advisory and mentoring services;
- Training and building national capacity;
- Helping to build partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Peacekeeping Corrections Officers include prison managers, engineers, trainers, health and safety specialists and counsellors.
By protecting the rights of prisoners and helping to ensure that justice is served, UN Peacekeeping promotes faith in a country’s legal system and the long-term stability it fosters.
On the ground successes and partnerships
In the last year, our Corrections specialists have strengthened and created new partnerships with leading organizations in the field to work to address the complex issues surrounding corrections, including:
- The International Centre for Prisons Studies (ICPS)
- The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA)
- Penal Reform International (PRI)
- Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)
As well as this, we have increased the involvement of Member
States in our work in this area, and augmented the number of Corrections Officers deployed to peace operations.
Finally, UN Peacekeeping has overseen the development and delivery of a pre-deployment training course for new Corrections Officers, and developed strategic and operational management courses for UN agencies and Member State prison personnel.
- Prison Incident Management Handbook
- Corrections Update - an annual look at the work the UN is doing to develop and ameliorate corrections systems.
- Non-paper on DPKO support for Strengthening Justice and Corrections Systems