Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
Published on Thu, 2015-05-28 10:50
Revised global standards on the treatment of prisoners were adopted in Vienna to provide greater protection to persons deprived of their liberty. The detailed guidelines currently in effect were established by the United Nations 60 years ago. The four-year-long revision process took into account contributions by CELS and other national and international human rights organizations.
The text adopted at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will be sent to the General Assembly for final approval. Starting in 2011, CELS and other organizations participated in the revision process during meetings of experts and the Commission's sessions. The revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners introduced significant improvements in the following areas: the investigation of all deaths occurring in places of detention; prevention and investigation of torture and ill treatment; restrictions on solitary confinement; limitations on disciplinary sanctions; regulation of searches; independent inspections of places of confinement; health care; and the rights of persons with disabilities, among other issues. These Rules are used in many parts of the world as a parameter for minimum detention conditions.
The text adopted on May 22nd at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will be sent to the General Assembly for final approval. Starting in 2011, CELS and other organizations participated in the revision process during meetings of experts and the Commission's sessions.
The revamped standards are more in line with international and regional norms for the protection of human rights. However, the process had its limitations: only some of the Rulesâ€™ thematic areas were targeted for revision. In particular, we regret that discussions on the use of force in places of confinement were excluded.
For Argentina, this revision is of special importance because the Supreme Court, in its ruling on the Verbitsky case, established that detention conditions in the country should adhere to the Standard Minimum Rules. Therefore, these changes will serve as a guide for adopting concrete penitentiary policies and for protecting the rights of persons deprived of liberty.