UNODC Working Group on United nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
A set of UN norms known as the ‘Standard Minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners” was adopted as far back as 1957. During the February 2012 meeting, the experts were debating on the viability of such old texts regarding the 2012 context.
They came to the conclusion that the texts still match with the current world situation. It is actually the case for most of the texts with a universal perspective and that are carefully written.
Yet, many of the expressions and words used in the original texts are not adequate anymore to nowadays’ vocabulary. The example of the use of the terms ‘insane and mentally abnormal prisoners” is representative of this trend. Therefore, the working group helped rethink the evolutions regarding the perceptions and the terminology.
The experts also pointed at new society topics to take into account, like right of access to legal representation, protection and special needs for vulnerable people, medical and health services, and need of investigation of all death in custody.
The recommendations, which are especially supported by France, will be officially introduced to all the State members during the next meeting of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, from April 23rd to April 27th in Vienna.