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Corrections Amendment Bill - Submission to the Law and Order Select Committee [2012] NZHRCSub 4 (12 April 2012)

Last Updated: 31 May 2015

Submission by the

Human Rights Commission

Corrections Amendment Bill

to the Law and Order Select Committee

Logo PNG

12 April 2012

Contact person:
Jessica Ngatai
Policy Analyst
Human Rights Commission
Direct dial 09 306 2653

Submission by the Human Rights Commission on the Corrections Amendment Bill 2012

1. Introduction

1.1 The Human Rights Commission appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Corrections Amendment Bill. The Commission’s primary functions include advocating and promoting respect for, and an understanding of, human rights in New Zealand society. An important part of this role involves assessing domestic legislation, and providing advice and guidance, on human rights compliance.

1.2 The Commission also has a role in relation to the monitoring of places of detention for the purposes of preventing ill treatment under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The Commission is the designated Central National Preventive Mechanism under the OPCAT, and in this role, works closely with the Ombudsmen, who have responsibility for monitoring prisons.

1.3 The Commission has read the Ombudsmen’s submission on this Bill, and records its support for that submission.

1.4 The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the Inspector of Service Penal Establishments, are the other organisations comprising the independent monitoring system under the OPCAT. New Zealand ratified the OPCAT in 2007 and designated the above organisations as National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs).

1.5 Article 19 of OPCAT sets out the functions of NPMs, which include “19 (c) to submit proposals and observations concerning existing or draft legislation”. Together with a programme of regular visits to places where people are deprived of liberty, these activities have the aim of “improving the treatment and the conditions of the persons deprived of their liberty and to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.[1]

1.6 This submission, and the OPCAT monitoring system, is grounded in the international human rights framework. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture (CAT), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Convention on Refugees) all make provisions for the rights of people in detention. [2] Fundamental human rights requirements are that:

1.7 In addition to the binding international instruments, a range of United Nations documents provide important guidance on how these obligations are to be met.[5] These include the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR),[6] which are referred to in the purpose section of the Corrections Act 2004:

S5 Purpose of corrections system

(1) The purpose of the corrections system is to improve public safety and contribute to the maintenance of a just society by—


(b) providing for corrections facilities to be operated in accordance with rules set out in this Act and regulations made under this Act that are based, amongst other matters, on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners; ...

1.8 This submission also draws on the findings of the Commission’s review of the status of human rights in New Zealand. The report, Human Rights in New Zealand 2010[7] analyses the full spectrum of human rights, and identifies priority areas where further action is required in order to better ensure the dignity, equality and security of everyone in New Zealand. In relation to prisons, the report noted numerous improvements over the five years from 2004-2010, including the enactment of the Corrections Act and advances in employment, rehabilitation and drug and alcohol treatment. Priority areas for action identified in the report include: the need to strengthen safeguards for prisoners, and to further develop prisoner access to health care and mental health services.

1.9 A significant and longstanding issue of concern is the unacceptably high, disproportionate number of Māori in prison. One of the priorities identified in Human Rights in New Zealand 2010 was the urgent need to address this issue, by committing to specific targets and timelines for reducing the disproportionate number of Māori in prison.

General comment

1.10 The Commission agrees with the statement in the Bill’s explanatory note that “overall, current legislation continues to provide a sound framework for the operation of the corrections system”. The Commission also welcomes the commitment to “managing prisoners in a manner that is safe, secure, humane, effective and efficient”. The Commission does not, however, consider that greater efficiency requires, or justifies, erosion of legislative protections for people deprived of their liberty.

1.11 Overall, the Bill proposes a number of measures for greater efficiency, by removing layers of oversight, or by extending powers to additional people (including staff of privately managed prisons). However, the cumulative effect of some of the changes in the Bill has the potential to weaken the Act’s human rights protections in significant ways. These changes appear to be in breach of binding international obligations that New Zealand has committed to.

1.12 Human rights standards recognise that the nature of imprisonment means that human rights may be limited in some circumstances, but requires any such incursions into individual rights to be accompanied by appropriate safeguards. The Bill removes a number of procedural safeguards that ensure oversight and accountability around the use of coercive powers. These checks and balances are crucial in situations where when the powers of the state are exercised upon those in their custody. As the Commission has previously noted: [8]

Detention raises fundamental human rights issues: A key reason for human rights protections is to mediate the exercise of State power over citizens. State power is at its greatest when citizens or others are detained by the State, and people in detention are extraordinarily vulnerable to abuses of that power.

1.13 The enactment of the Corrections Act 2004, and the strengthened human rights protections it provided, has been commended by international human rights bodies.[9] It is important to New Zealand’s reputation that these protections are not removed or undermined.

Summary of recommendations

1.14 In summary, the Commission:

  1. Opposes the extension of search powers and removal of safeguards around strip searches (clause 27).

  1. Opposes the removal of the role of Visiting Justices from the approval process for the use of restraints (clause 25).

  1. Opposes the relaxation of requirements for visits by a medical officer to segregated prisoners (clause 15).

  1. Is concerned that the creation of a new offence relating to dilution of drug test samples may result in limits on the availability of drinking water to prisoners.

  1. Is concerned that transferring responsibilities from Medical Officers to Health Centre Managers may further weaken the connections between prison health services and the wider public health service.

  1. Recommends that clause 19A(3) should require that a Health Centre Manager is either a medical practitioner or registered nurse, with suitable psychiatric training.

  1. Considers that rather than reducing prisoners’ minimum entitlements to exercise, sufficient staffing should be made available to ensure that prisoners attending court have an opportunity for outdoor exercise at least one hour per day (clause 22).

  1. Recommends that clause 8 be amended to define “a sufficient number of Medical Officers” with reference to prisoner numbers and hours of availability, and that this is subject to regular review.

  1. Suggests strengthening the Act’s provisions regarding minimum entitlements, so that any denial of the entitlement to exercise is based on an objective standard, rather than opinion.

  1. Suggests that clause 13 be amended to provide that a minimum core set of items remain authorised under regulation, and that the Chief Executive is able to amend this minimum list only when it can be shown that it is necessary to prevent harm or uphold security.

  1. Supports the extension of employment opportunities to self-employed prisoners (clause 19)

  1. Recommends reference to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the delegation of powers to private prison managers or staff.

  1. Supports the reporting requirements of clauses 43 and 45 as a means of retaining oversight by the Department of Corrections over exercises of powers by staff of contract managed prisons.

Comment on clauses in the Bill

2. Searches

2.1 International human rights bodies and New Zealand Courts have noted the inherently degrading nature of strip searches. In Taunoa v Attorney-General, Justice McGrath commented that strip searching is of its nature “demeaning”, and that “the practice must be closely regulated”.[11]

2.2 Another New Zealand Supreme Court Justice has stated: [12]

Most central to all human rights is the right to dignity. It is the source from which all other rights are derived. Dignity unites the other human rights into a whole.

2.3 The Commission considers that respect for human dignity, as well as being a fundamental and universal human rights obligation, is linked to reintegration and rehabilitation. Both (assisting in rehabilitation and reintegration, and compliance with human rights standards) are key purposes of the corrections system.[13]

2.4 Research undertaken for the Commission into human rights in New Zealand prisons found that human rights values have a key role in the rehabilitation of prisoners.[14] The report, Human Rights and Prisons, notes international literature that shows that attention to human rights in prisons helps reduce conflict, strengthens prisoners’ chances of rehabilitation, and ultimately leads to safer societies.

2.5 The Commission, therefore, considers that ensuring human dignity is recognised and respected requires high thresholds and protections around the use of measures that impinge so significantly upon individual privacy and dignity.

2.6 Overseas research into the psychological impacts of strip searching on prisoners indicates that it may have a significantly negative impact on the female prison population,[15] and questions the effectiveness of strip searching both as a contraband-control and as a security strategy. International research has also shown that the number of female prisoners who have suffered violent and, in particular, sexual abuse is very high.[16] There is, therefore, a high potential for strip searches to re-victimise female prisoners.

2.7 Given the nature and ramifications of strip searches, international human rights bodies have stated that resort to strip searching of prisoners must: (a) be based on an individual assessment and (b) be carried out in such a way as to respect, as far as possible, the dignity of the prisoners concerned.[17]

2.8 Proposals in the Bill raise concerns about compliance with both of those requirements. The Bill both lessens the safeguards around strip searches and extends the situation in which the most invasive search methods may be used.

2.9 Currently the Act imposes a ‘reasonable grounds’ threshold and requires a prison manager’s authorisation for strip searches. It provides an exemption where such requirements would compromise health, safety or security. We see no reason for reducing these safeguards as the Bill proposes. Although the Bill asserts that these requirements “introduce unnecessary delays”, we consider that they are fundamental safeguards for ensuring accountability and oversight of the exercise of this power. A ‘reasonable grounds’ requirement provides a degree of protection against the inappropriate or routine exercise of this power.

2.10 International human rights bodies require “a strict policy of risk-assessed strip searches only”.[18] The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)[19] has stated:[20]

A strip search (and even more so a visual inspection of the perineal area), is a very invasive and potentially degrading measure. To apply it in every case is, in the CPT’s view, excessive and unnecessary. Of course, detained persons should always be searched in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of KP officers. However, a strip search should be carried out only when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a detained person may have hidden on him/her items that may be used to harm him-/herself or others or that may be evidence of a crime and such a search is necessary in order to detect these, an ordinary search being unlikely to result in their discovery. Carrying out such a search should require the authority of a senior officer and should be subject of a written policy, setting out in clear terms the circumstances in which it is permissible to resort to it. ...

2.11 As mentioned above, the Commission is part of the monitoring system under OPCAT, which is aimed at helping New Zealand to meet its international obligations to prevent torture and ill treatment of people in detention. A key principle of torture prevention is the restriction and regulation of instruments that have the potential to be misused.

2.12 The inherently degrading nature of strip searches renders the need for safeguards around their use even more necessary. The Commission therefore opposes the extension of these powers and the removal of these safeguards in the Bill.

3. Restraint

3.1 Any use of mechanical restraints represents a significant interference with individual rights and freedoms. Accordingly, human rights standards require stringent safeguards and restrictions around their use.

3.2 Commentary by international human rights bodies provides guidance on how the standards are to be applied.[21] Minimum standards include the following:[22]

Regarding its appropriate use, immobilisation should only be used as a last resort to prevent the risk of harm to the individual or others and only when all other reasonable options would fail satisfactorily to contain those risks; it should never be used as a punishment or to compensate for shortages of trained staff; it should not be used in a non-medical setting when hospitalisation would be a more appropriate intervention.

Any resort to immobilisation should be immediately brought to the attention of a doctor in order to assess the need for the measure, as opposed to certifying the individual’s fitness for it.

The duration of fixation should be for the shortest possible time (usually minutes rather than hours) [emphasis added]. The exceptional prolongation of restraint should warrant a further review by a doctor. Restraint for periods of days at a time cannot have any justification and would amount to ill treatment.

3.3 As emphasised in the above quote, the use of restraint for periods of hours should only occur in exceptional circumstances. The Commission submits that as such, recourse to Visiting Justices for approval of prolonged restraint, would not be a barrier to the effective and efficient management of prisons.

3.4 UN Principles support the involvement of medical personnel to assess, on medical criteria, whether restraint is necessary in order to protect the health or safety of a prisoner.[23]

3.5 The regulatory impact statement describes the current situation as involving: “an unnecessary requirement for Visiting Justices to approve the application of a restraint beyond 24 hours – such an extension should only be sought to prevent a prisoner from self harming, so a medical officer is best placed to advise on this matter.

3.6 The Commission agrees that the involvement and advice of a medical officer is crucial. However, the involvement of a Visiting Justice ensures a further layer of checks and balances that are an important protection when individuals’ rights are limited in this way.

3.7 Regular monitoring under the OPCAT has highlighted some issues around policies and practices regarding use of restraints and searches of people in detention. There are some indications of local variations in policy and practice, and that some powers are being used on a more routine basis than permitted.[24]

3.8 Issues have also been raised by international human rights bodies. In 2009 the UN Committee against Torture stated: [25]

The Committee is concerned at the use by prison authorities of instruments of physical restraint that may cause unnecessary pain and humiliation. (arts. 11 and 16)

3.9 The Committee recommended that:

... The State party should keep under constant review the use of instruments of restraint that may cause unnecessary pain and humiliation, and ensure that they are used only when necessary, and that their use is appropriately recorded.

3.10 While medical oversight, which is a core protection and human rights requirement, is retained by the Bill, the Commission do not support the removal of the role of visiting justices from the approval process.

4. Segregation

4.1 Human rights minimum standards are premised on the notion that conditions amounting to ‘isolation’ from others should be a measure of last resort, used for as short a time as possible, and accompanied by safeguards such as monitoring, review and appeal processes. Medical oversight is a key element of these safeguards.

4.2 While we can see some benefit in transferring administrative elements of the medical officer’s role to a health centre manager, we feel that (as above in relation to restraints) the involvement of a medical officer is an important protection when a prisoner is segregated. Given the serious restriction of rights that segregation represents, and the health risks associated with it, particularly when the reason for segregation is the risk of self-harm, the Commission believes that this should remain a responsibility of a medical officer. We therefore oppose the relaxation of requirements for medical visits to segregated prisoners.

5. Drug and Alcohol Offences

5.1 While the Commission supports efforts to effectively eliminate contraband in prisons, it has concerns about the proposed amendments in clause 36 that make it an offence to “consume, administer or supply any substance with intent to dilute or contaminate” a sample. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners require that “drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it”.[26] The Commission is concerned that the new provision may result in limits on the availability of drinking water to prisoners.

6. Health Care

6.1 International human right standards set out the range of responsibilities of medical officers to assess, treat and monitor prisoners’ health. These include the following:[27]

22. (1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services should be organized in close relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation....

24. The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after his admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and the taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and the determination of the physical capacity of every prisoner for work.

6.2 The Bill proposes that some functions of a medical officer are transferred to the Health Centre Manager (who may be a medical practitioner or a nurse). It may be that removing administrative responsibilities from medical officers to Health Centre Managers may be consistent with their roles and free up medical officers for other medical duties. As the Ombudsmen have noted:[28]

The Bill recognises that, in reality, prison Health Centre Managers employed by the Department have the central role of ensuring that the health needs of prisoners are met. Current legislative provisions place contracted Medical Officers at the forefront of the provision of Health Services to prisoners. The Bill proposes that this role should be a function of the Health Centre Manager.

6.3 The Commission does have concerns however, that the changes in the Bill do not address issues around provision of mental health care (cf SMR 22 and 24 above), and may in fact lessen the availability of psychiatric expertise.

6.4 The Ombudsmen’s report reiterates longstanding concerns regarding the high prevalence of mental health issues amongst prisoners, and identifies shortcomings in the mental health care available.[29]

Psychiatric morbidity, or the rate of mental illness or proportion of mentally ill persons in a given locality... is prevalent amongst prisoners. Most of those in prison with mental health problems, including the majority of those with complex treatment needs, are managed in prison primary care. Significant unmet needs in prison are reported in terms of common mental health problems including depression, anxiety, emotional distress and adjustment problems.

We found primary mental healthcare in prisons variable. Many Medical Officers have limited training in psychiatry, and prison nurses who provide a significant amount of the primary care service are not supported from a clinical perspective in dealing with these, often difficult, cases. From our interviews, relationships with forensic teams were good, but Medical Officers describe a shortage of counselling and therapeutic interventions for primary mental health and substance misuse problems.

Some prison healthcare teams had no mental health nurses to provide specialised care to those who fell beneath the threshold of severe and enduring illness. Prison nurses are a mix of those qualified in general nursing and in mental health nursing. On the whole, they do not have specialist roles and are expected to provide a range of services.

In general, we found that services were insufficiently responsive to the diverse needs of prisoners with mental health problems.

6.5 Given these concerns and the high prevalence of mental health issues amongst prisoners, the Commission submits that clause 19A(3) should require that a Health Centre Manager is either a medical practitioner or registered nurse, with suitable psychiatric training.

6.6 In addition, the Ombudsmen’s report identified a number of other issues concerning the prison health service and the role of medical officers, including the availability and standard of performance of medical officers, and the need for greater alignment with public health services. With reference to SMR 22(1) the Ombudsmen stated that:

Health Services, in our view, cannot be considered to be organised in close relationship with the “general health administration of the community or nation” as stated in Article 22 (1) of the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

6.7 The report recommended that:

the Department’s Health Service should be aligned with the wider health system. Health Services for prisoners should be funded and delivered by an agency whose primary focus is “health” and therapeutic support, not custodial services.

6.8 The Bill’s proposal to transfer responsibilities from medical officers (usually contracted general practitioners) to Health Centre Managers (part of the Prison Services) does not serve to align prison health services with the wider health system, but rather could create further separation and a more self-contained and insular prison health service.

6.9 Given concerns raised by the Ombudsmen about gaps in coverage, it is also imperative that the proposal to amend the requirements regarding the number of medical officers should not lead to a reduction in numbers. The Ombudsmen’s report notes:[30]

At one of the smaller prisons we visited, Health Services staff commented positively regarding their ease of contact with Medical Officers after hours, the care they afforded prisoners and the additional hours Medical Officers work in excess of those contracted.

This was not the case at all prisons we visited. At some sites, Health Services and custodial staff expressed concern about the limited hours and quality of the service provided by the Medical Officer at their prison.

The Department might consider periodic review of coverage and standards of performance by Medical officers.

6.10 The clause should be amended to define a “sufficient number” with reference to ratio to prisoner numbers and hours of availability. There should also be a requirement for regular review of coverage.

7. Exercise

7.1 Human rights standards require that at least one hour of exercise (in the open air, weather permitting) is available to all prisoners.[31] Such opportunity is the widely accepted minimum necessary to support the physical and mental health of prisoners.

7.2 The regulatory impact statement explains that the Bill’s proposed amendment is in response to the Ombudsmen’s determination that prisoners attending court should receive their entitlement to at least one hour of exercise.

7.3 The Commission is concerned that a substantial number of prisoners, may be deprived of the opportunity for fresh air and exercise by these provisions, possibly for days at a time.

7.4 While recognising the staffing issue raised by the Department of Corrections, the Commission considers that sufficient staffing should be made available to ensure that all prisoners are provided their minimum entitlements.

7.5 In addition, the Commission notes that the current section 69(3) of the Act enables prisoners held in police jails to be denied their entitlement to exercise “if, in the opinion of the prison manager or other person in charge, it is not practicable to provide those entitlements, having regard to the facilities available at the Police jail and the resources available”. The Commission considers that any denial should be based on an objective standard, rather than opinion.

8. Prisoner property

8.1 Prisoner property is consistently among the main issues of prisoner complaint to both the Inspector of Corrections and the Ombudsmen.[32] The Inspector of Corrections has, for a number of years, called for a “significant overhaul of the way the Department approaches and manages prisoner property”.[33]

8.2 In the Department’s 2011 annual report the Inspector of Corrections notes that “the management of prisoner’s personal property leaves room for improvement”, and also that a comprehensive review of prisoner property has been commenced.[34] We understand this review is well advanced.

8.3 Given these issues, the Commission supports measures to improve the efficient management of prisoner property. While we do not have major issues with the proposed amendment, we do not believe that this will address the longstanding problems with the management of prisoner property. We suggest that further attention is given to improving this issue and implementing the outcome of the current review.

8.4 The Commission also recommends that a minimum core set of items remain authorised under regulation. We suggest that the clause is amended to empower the chief executive to amend this minimum list only when it can be shown that it is necessary to prevent harm or uphold security.

9. Self-employment / Earnings

9.1 The right to work is a universal human right. Prisoners’ rights to work are affirmed in international human rights instruments, such as the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Standard Minimum Rules.

9.2 Principle 8 of the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners requires that:

Conditions shall be created enabling prisoners to undertake meaningful remunerated employment which will facilitate their reintegration into the country's labour market and permit them to contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.

9.3 The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners provide as follows:

71. (3) Sufficient work of a useful nature shall be provided to keep prisoners actively employed for a normal working day.

(4) So far as possible the work provided shall be such as will maintain or increase the prisoners' ability to earn an honest living after release.

9.4 In its 2010 review of Human Rights in New Zealand the Commission noted that:

There have been considerable efforts to increase access to employment and training opportunities, opening of new drug treatment units, and expansion of rehabilitation programmes. Despite these gains, there is still scope for further improvement and expansion, including by identifying and addressing potential barriers to access.

9.5 The Regulatory Impact Statement (paper 2) states that “opportunities for prisoners to gain self-employment skills are not being realised”. The Commission therefore supports the proposal to extend opportunities to prisoners who are self-employed.

10. Delegation of powers

10.1 UN treaty bodies have emphasised that however public services are delivered – for example, when they are delegated to private actors – the State has responsibility to ensure human rights are promoted, protected and fulfilled.

10.2 To ensure that human rights standards are maintained when state functions are devolved to private actors, the UN General Assembly adopted the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework (the Ruggie Principles).[35]

10.3 The Ruggie Principles are designed to ensure that companies do not violate human rights in the course of business transactions and provide redress when infringements occur. There are three parts to the Ruggie Principles. The first is the duty of the State to protect against abuse by third parties - which includes businesses - by adopting appropriate policies, regulations and adjudication. The second is the responsibility of business to respect human rights, to avoid infringing the rights of others and to address any adverse impacts, while the third is ensuring victims have greater access to an effective remedy.

10.4 While the Ruggie Principles are not legally binding in the same way as a treaty, they establish standards of behaviour with which States are expected to conform. States may be held to have breached their human rights obligations if they fail to take appropriate steps to prevent, investigate or punish abuse by private actors.

10.5 While the Corrections Act imposes duties on contractors to comply with “all relevant international obligations and standards” (s 199(2)(d)) the Commission considers that specific reference to the Ruggie Principles would provide important added protection along with the increased delegated powers.

10.6 The Commission also supports the reporting requirements of clauses 43 and 45 which will help to ensure that the Department retains some oversight of these delegated powers.

Appendix 1 – UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of PrisonersAppendix – 1

Adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977

1. The following rules are not intended to describe in detail a model system of penal institutions. They seek only, on the basis of the general consensus of contemporary thought and the essential elements of the most adequate systems of today, to set out what is generally accepted as being good principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners and the management of institutions.
2. In view of the great variety of legal, social, economic and geographical conditions of the world, it is evident that not all of the rules are capable of application in all places and at all times. They should, however, serve to stimulate a constant endeavour to overcome practical difficulties in the way of their application, in the knowledge that they represent, as a whole, the minimum conditions which are accepted as suitable by the United Nations.
3. On the other hand, the rules cover a field in which thought is constantly developing. They are not intended to preclude experiment and practices, provided these are in harmony with the principles and seek to further the purposes which derive from the text of the rules as a whole. It will always be justifiable for the central prison administration to authorize departures from the rules in this spirit.
4. (1) Part I of the rules covers the general management of institutions, and is applicable to all categories of prisoners, criminal or civil, untried or convicted, including prisoners subject to "security measures" or corrective measures ordered by the judge.
(2) Part II contains rules applicable only to the special categories dealt with in each section. Nevertheless, the rules under section A, applicable to prisoners under sentence, shall be equally applicable to categories of prisoners dealt with in sections B, C and D, provided they do not conflict with the rules governing those categories and are for their benefit.
5. (1) The rules do not seek to regulate the management of institutions set aside for young persons such as Borstal institutions or correctional schools, but in general part I would be equally applicable in such institutions.
(2) The category of young prisoners should include at least all young persons who come within the jurisdiction of juvenile courts. As a rule, such young persons should not be sentenced to imprisonment.

Part I
Basic principle

6. (1) The following rules shall be applied impartially. There shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) On the other hand, it is necessary to respect the religious beliefs and moral precepts of the group to which a prisoner belongs.


7. (1) In every place where persons are imprisoned there shall be kept a bound registration book with numbered pages in which shall be entered in respect of each prisoner received:
( a ) Information concerning his identity;
( b ) The reasons for his commitment and the authority therefor;
( c ) The day and hour of his admission and release.
(2) No person shall be received in an institution without a valid commitment order of which the details shall have been previously entered in the register.

Separation of categories

8. The different categories of prisoners shall be kept in separate institutions or parts of institutions taking account of their sex, age, criminal record, the legal reason for their detention and the necessities of their treatment. Thus,
( a ) Men and women shall so far as possible be detained in separate institutions; in an institution which receives both men and women the whole of the premises allocated to women shall be entirely separate;
( b ) Untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoners;
( c ) Persons imprisoned for debt and other civil prisoners shall be kept separate from persons imprisoned by reason of a criminal offence;
( d ) Young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults.


9. (1) Where sleeping accommodation is in individual cells or rooms, each prisoner shall occupy by night a cell or room by himself. If for special reasons, such as temporary overcrowding, it becomes necessary for the central prison administration to make an exception to this rule, it is not desirable to have two prisoners in a cell or room.
(2) Where dormitories are used, they shall be occupied by prisoners carefully selected as being suitable to associate with one another in those conditions. There shall be regular supervision by night, in keeping with the nature of the institution.
10. All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
11. In all places where prisoners are required to live or work,
( a ) The windows shall be large enough to enable the prisoners to read or work by natural light, and shall be so constructed that they can allow the entrance of fresh air whether or not there is artificial ventilation;
( b ) Artificial light shall be provided sufficient for the prisoners to read or work without injury to eyesight.
12. The sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner.
13. Adequate bathing and shower installations shall be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower, at a temperature suitable to the climate, as frequently as necessary for general hygiene according to season and geographical region, but at least once a week in a temperate climate.
14. All parts of an institution regularly used by prisoners shall be properly maintained and kept scrupulously clean at all times.

Personal hygiene

15. Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.
16. In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be enabled to shave regularly.

Clothing and bedding

17. (1) Every prisoner who is not allowed to wear his own clothing shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep him in good health. Such clothing shall in no manner be degrading or humiliating.
(2) All clothing shall be clean and kept in proper condition. Underclothing shall be changed and washed as often as necessary for the maintenance of hygiene.
(3) In exceptional circumstances, whenever a prisoner is removed outside the institution for an authorized purpose, he shall be allowed to wear his own clothing or other inconspicuous clothing.
18. If prisoners are allowed to wear their own clothing, arrangements shall be made on their admission to the institution to ensure that it shall be clean and fit for use.
19. Every prisoner shall, in accordance with local or national standards, be provided with a separate bed, and with separate and sufficient bedding which shall be clean when issued, kept in good order and changed often enough to ensure its cleanliness.


20. (1) Every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.
(2) Drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it.

Exercise and sport

21. (1) Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits.
(2) Young prisoners, and others of suitable age and physique, shall receive physical and recreational training during the period of exercise. To this end space, installations and equipment should be provided.

Medical services

22. (1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services should be organized in close relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation. They shall include a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental abnormality.
(2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.
(3) The services of a qualified dental officer shall be available to every prisoner.
23. (1) In women's institutions there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care and treatment. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be born in a hospital outside the institution. If a child is born in prison, this fact shall not be mentioned in the birth certificate.
(2) Where nursing infants are allowed to remain in the institution with their mothers, provision shall be made for a nursery staffed by qualified persons, where the infants shall be placed when they are not in the care of their mothers.
24. The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after his admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and the taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and the determination of the physical capacity of every prisoner for work.
25. (1) The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and should daily see all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness, and any prisoner to whom his attention is specially directed.
(2) The medical officer shall report to the director whenever he considers that a prisoner's physical or mental health has been or will be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of imprisonment.
26. (1) The medical officer shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon:
( a ) The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food;
( b ) The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners;
( c ) The sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution;
( d ) The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners' clothing and bedding;
( e ) The observance of the rules concerning physical education and sports, in cases where there is no technical personnel in charge of these activities.
(2) The director shall take into consideration the reports and advice that the medical officer submits according to rules 25 (2) and 26 and, in case he concurs with the recommendations made, shall take immediate steps to give effect to those recommendations; if they are not within his competence or if he does not concur with them, he shall immediately submit his own report and the advice of the medical officer to higher authority.

Discipline and punishment

27. Discipline and order shall be maintained with firmness, but with no more restriction than is necessary for safe custody and well-ordered community life.
28. (1) No prisoner shall be employed, in the service of the institution, in any disciplinary capacity.
(2) This rule shall not, however, impede the proper functioning of systems based on self-government, under which specified social, educational or sports activities or responsibilities are entrusted, under supervision, to prisoners who are formed into groups for the purposes of treatment.
29. The following shall always be determined by the law or by the regulation of the competent administrative authority:
( a ) Conduct constituting a disciplinary offence;
( b ) The types and duration of punishment which may be inflicted;
( c ) The authority competent to impose such punishment.
30. (1) No prisoner shall be punished except in accordance with the terms of such law or regulation, and never twice for the same offence.
(2) No prisoner shall be punished unless he has been informed of the offence alleged against him and given a proper opportunity of presenting his defence. The competent authority shall conduct a thorough examination of the case.
(3) Where necessary and practicable the prisoner shall be allowed to make his defence through an interpreter.
31. Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences.
32. (1) Punishment by close confinement or reduction of diet shall never be inflicted unless the medical officer has examined the prisoner and certified in writing that he is fit to sustain it.
(2) The same shall apply to any other punishment that may be prejudicial to the physical or mental health of a prisoner. In no case may such punishment be contrary to or depart from the principle stated in rule 31.
(3) The medical officer shall visit daily prisoners undergoing such punishments and shall advise the director if he considers the termination or alteration of the punishment necessary on grounds of physical or mental health.

Instruments of restraint

33. Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and strait-jackets, shall never be applied as a punishment. Furthermore, chains or irons shall not be used as restraints. Other instruments of restraint shall not be used except in the following circumstances:
( a ) As a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they shall be removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority;
( b ) On medical grounds by direction of the medical officer;
( c ) By order of the director, if other methods of control fail, in order to prevent a prisoner from injuring himself or others or from damaging property; in such instances the director shall at once consult the medical officer and report to the higher administrative authority.
34. The patterns and manner of use of instruments of restraint shall be decided by the central prison administration. Such instruments must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.

Information to and complaints by prisoners

35. (1) Every prisoner on admission shall be provided with written information about the regulations governing the treatment of prisoners of his category, the disciplinary requirements of the institution, the authorized methods of seeking information and making complaints, and all such other matters as are necessary to enable him to understand both his rights and his obligations and to adapt himself to the life of the institution.
(2) If a prisoner is illiterate, the aforesaid information shall be conveyed to him orally.
36. (1) Every prisoner shall have the opportunity each week day of making requests or complaints to the director of the institution or the officer authorized to represent him.
(2) It shall be possible to make requests or complaints to the inspector of prisons during his inspection. The prisoner shall have the opportunity to talk to the inspector or to any other inspecting officer without the director or other members of the staff being present.
(3) Every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, without censorship as to substance but in proper form, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels.
(4) Unless it is evidently frivolous or groundless, every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay.

Contact with the outside world

37. Prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits.
38. (1) Prisoners who are foreign nationals shall be allowed reasonable facilities to communicate with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the State to which they belong.
(2) Prisoners who are nationals of States without diplomatic or consular representation in the country and refugees or stateless persons shall be allowed similar facilities to communicate with the diplomatic representative of the State which takes charge of their interests or any national or international authority whose task it is to protect such persons.
39. Prisoners shall be kept informed regularly of the more important items of news by the reading of newspapers, periodicals or special institutional publications, by hearing wireless transmissions, by lectures or by any similar means as authorized or controlled by the administration.


40. Every institution shall have a library for the use of all categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with both recreational and instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of it.


41. (1) If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed or approved. If the number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement should be on a full-time basis.
(2) A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph (1) shall be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits in private to prisoners of his religion at proper times.
(3) Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any prisoner. On the other hand, if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious representative, his attitude shall be fully respected.
42. So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his religious life by attending the services provided in the institution and having in his possession the books of religious observance and instruction of his denomination.

Retention of prisoners' property

43. (1) All money, valuables, clothing and other effects belonging to a prisoner which under the regulations of the institution he is not allowed to retain shall on his admission to the institution be placed in safe custody. An inventory thereof shall be signed by the prisoner. Steps shall be taken to keep them in good condition.
(2) On the release of the prisoner all such articles and money shall be returned to him except in so far as he has been authorized to spend money or send any such property out of the institution, or it has been found necessary on hygienic grounds to destroy any article of clothing. The prisoner shall sign a receipt for the articles and money returned to him.
(3) Any money or effects received for a prisoner from outside shall be treated in the same way.
(4) If a prisoner brings in any drugs or medicine, the medical officer shall decide what use shall be made of them.

Notification of death, illness, transfer, etc.

44. (1) Upon the death or serious illness of, or serious injury to a prisoner, or his removal to an institution for the treatment of mental affections, the director shall at once inform the spouse, if the prisoner is married, or the nearest relative and shall in any event inform any other person previously designated by the prisoner.
(2) A prisoner shall be informed at once of the death or serious illness of any near relative. In case of the critical illness of a near relative, the prisoner should be authorized, whenever circumstances allow, to go to his bedside either under escort or alone.
(3) Every prisoner shall have the right to inform at once his family of his imprisonment or his transfer to another institution.

Removal of prisoners

45. (1) When the prisoners are being removed to or from an institution, they shall be exposed to public view as little as possible, and proper safeguards shall be adopted to protect them from insult, curiosity and publicity in any form.
(2) The transport of prisoners in conveyances with inadequate ventilation or light, or in any way which would subject them to unnecessary physical hardship, shall be prohibited.
(3) The transport of prisoners shall be carried out at the expense of the administration and equal conditions shall obtain for all of them.

Institutional personnel

46. (1) The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection of every grade of the personnel, since it is on their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the work that the proper administration of the institutions depends.
(2) The prison administration shall constantly seek to awaken and maintain in the minds both of the personnel and of the public the conviction that this work is a social service of great importance, and to this end all appropriate means of informing the public should be used.
(3) To secure the foregoing ends, personnel shall be appointed on a full-time basis as professional prison officers and have civil service status with security of tenure subject only to good conduct, efficiency and physical fitness. Salaries shall be adequate to attract and retain suitable men and women; employment benefits and conditions of service shall be favourable in view of the exacting nature of the work.
47. (1) The personnel shall possess an adequate standard of education and intelligence.
(2) Before entering on duty, the personnel shall be given a course of training in their general and specific duties and be required to pass theoretical and practical tests.
(3) After entering on duty and during their career, the personnel shall maintain and improve their knowledge and professional capacity by attending courses of in-service training to be organized at suitable intervals.
48. All members of the personnel shall at all times so conduct themselves and perform their duties as to influence the prisoners for good by their example and to command their respect.
49. (1) So far as possible, the personnel shall include a sufficient number of specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers and trade instructors.
(2) The services of social workers, teachers and trade instructors shall be secured on a permanent basis, without thereby excluding part-time or voluntary workers.
50. (1) The director of an institution should be adequately qualified for his task by character, administrative ability, suitable training and experience.
(2) He shall devote his entire time to his official duties and shall not be appointed on a part-time basis.
(3) He shall reside on the premises of the institution or in its immediate vicinity.
(4) When two or more institutions are under the authority of one director, he shall visit each of them at frequent intervals. A responsible resident official shall be in charge of each of these institutions.
51. (1) The director, his deputy, and the majority of the other personnel of the institution shall be able to speak the language of the greatest number of prisoners, or a language understood by the greatest number of them.
(2) Whenever necessary, the services of an interpreter shall be used.
52. (1) In institutions which are large enough to require the services of one or more full-time medical officers, at least one of them shall reside on the premises of the institution or in its immediate vicinity.
(2) In other institutions the medical officer shall visit daily and shall reside near enough to be able to attend without delay in cases of urgency.
53. (1) In an institution for both men and women, the part of the institution set aside for women shall be under the authority of a responsible woman officer who shall have the custody of the keys of all that part of the institution.
(2) No male member of the staff shall enter the part of the institution set aside for women unless accompanied by a woman officer.
(3) Women prisoners shall be attended and supervised only by women officers. This does not, however, preclude male members of the staff, particularly doctors and teachers, from carrying out their professional duties in institutions or parts of institutions set aside for women.
54. (1) Officers of the institutions shall not, in their relations with the prisoners, use force except in self-defence or in cases of attempted escape, or active or passive physical resistance to an order based on law or regulations. Officers who have recourse to force must use no more than is strictly necessary and must report the incident immediately to the director of the institution.
(2) Prison officers shall be given special physical training to enable them to restrain aggressive prisoners.
(3) Except in special circumstances, staff performing duties which bring them into direct contact with prisoners should not be armed. Furthermore, staff should in no circumstances be provided with arms unless they have been trained in their use.


55. There shall be a regular inspection of penal institutions and services by qualified and experienced inspectors appointed by a competent authority. Their task shall be in particular to ensure that these institutions are administered in accordance with existing laws and regulations and with a view to bringing about the objectives of penal and correctional services.

Part II
A. Prisoners under sentence
Guiding principles

56. The guiding principles hereafter are intended to show the spirit in which penal institutions should be administered and the purposes at which they should aim, in accordance with the declaration made under Preliminary Observation 1 of the present text.
57. Imprisonment and other measures which result in cutting off an offender from the outside world are afflictive by the very fact of taking from the person the right of self-determination by depriving him of his liberty. Therefore the prison system shall not, except as incidental to justifiable segregation or the maintenance of discipline, aggravate the suffering inherent in such a situation.
58. The purpose and justification of a sentence of imprisonment or a similar measure deprivative of liberty is ultimately to protect society against crime. This end can only be achieved if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, that upon his return to society the offender is not only willing but able to lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life.
59. To this end, the institution should utilize all the remedial, educational, moral, spiritual and other forces and forms of assistance which are appropriate and available, and should seek to apply them according to the individual treatment needs of the prisoners.
60. (1) The regime of the institution should seek to minimize any differences between prison life and life at liberty which tend to lessen the responsibility of the prisoners or the respect due to their dignity as human beings.
(2) Before the completion of the sentence, it is desirable that the necessary steps be taken to ensure for the prisoner a gradual return to life in society. This aim may be achieved, depending on the case, by a pre-release regime organized in the same institution or in another appropriate institution, or by release on trial under some kind of supervision which must not be entrusted to the police but should be combined with effective social aid.
61. The treatment of prisoners should emphasize not their exclusion from the community, but their continuing part in it. Community agencies should, therefore, be enlisted wherever possible to assist the staff of the institution in the task of social rehabilitation of the prisoners. There should be in connection with every institution social workers charged with the duty of maintaining and improving all desirable relations of a prisoner with his family and with valuable social agencies. Steps should be taken to safeguard, to the maximum extent compatible with the law and the sentence, the rights relating to civil interests, social security rights and other social benefits of prisoners.
62. The medical services of the institution shall seek to detect and shall treat any physical or mental illnesses or defects which may hamper a prisoner's rehabilitation. All necessary medical, surgical and psychiatric services shall be provided to that end.
63. (1) The fulfilment of these principles requires individualization of treatment and for this purpose a flexible system of classifying prisoners in groups; it is therefore desirable that such groups should be distributed in separate institutions suitable for the treatment of each group.
(2) These institutions need not provide the same degree of security for every group. It is desirable to provide varying degrees of security according to the needs of different groups. Open institutions, by the very fact that they provide no physical security against escape but rely on the self-discipline of the inmates, provide the conditions most favourable to rehabilitation for carefully selected prisoners.
(3) It is desirable that the number of prisoners in closed institutions should not be so large that the individualization of treatment is hindered. In some countries it is considered that the population of such institutions should not exceed five hundred. In open institutions the population should be as small as possible.
(4) On the other hand, it is undesirable to maintain prisons which are so small that proper facilities cannot be provided.
64. The duty of society does not end with a prisoner's release. There should, therefore, be governmental or private agencies capable of lending the released prisoner efficient after-care directed towards the lessening of prejudice against him and towards his social rehabilitation.


65. The treatment of persons sentenced to imprisonment or a similar measure shall have as its purpose, so far as the length of the sentence permits, to establish in them the will to lead law-abiding and self-supporting lives after their release and to fit them to do so. The treatment shall be such as will encourage their self-respect and develop their sense of responsibility.
66. (1) To these ends, all appropriate means shall be used, including religious care in the countries where this is possible, education, vocational guidance and training, social casework, employment counselling, physical development and strengthening of moral character, in accordance with the individual needs of each prisoner, taking account of his social and criminal history, his physical and mental capacities and aptitudes, his personal temperament, the length of his sentence and his prospects after release.
(2) For every prisoner with a sentence of suitable length, the director shall receive, as soon as possible after his admission, full reports on all the matters referred to in the foregoing paragraph. Such reports shall always include a report by a medical officer, wherever possible qualified in psychiatry, on the physical and mental condition of the prisoner.
(3) The reports and other relevant documents shall be placed in an individual file. This file shall be kept up to date and classified in such a way that it can be consulted by the responsible personnel whenever the need arises.

Classification and individualization

67. The purposes of classification shall be:
( a ) To separate from others those prisoners who, by reason of their criminal records or bad characters, are likely to exercise a bad influence;
( b ) To divide the prisoners into classes in order to facilitate their treatment with a view to their social rehabilitation.
68. So far as possible separate institutions or separate sections of an institution shall be used for the treatment of the different classes of prisoners.
69. As soon as possible after admission and after a study of the personality of each prisoner with a sentence of suitable length, a programme of treatment shall be prepared for him in the light of the knowledge obtained about his individual needs, his capacities and dispositions.


70. Systems of privileges appropriate for the different classes of prisoners and the different methods of treatment shall be established at every institution, in order to encourage good conduct, develop a sense of responsibility and secure the interest and co-operation of the prisoners in their treatment.


71. (1) Prison labour must not be of an afflictive nature.
(2) All prisoners under sentence shall be required to work, subject to their physical and mental fitness as determined by the medical officer.
(3) Sufficient work of a useful nature shall be provided to keep prisoners actively employed for a normal working day.
(4) So far as possible the work provided shall be such as will maintain or increase the prisoners, ability to earn an honest living after release.
(5) Vocational training in useful trades shall be provided for prisoners able to profit thereby and especially for young prisoners.
(6) Within the limits compatible with proper vocational selection and with the requirements of institutional administration and discipline, the prisoners shall be able to choose the type of work they wish to perform.
72. (1) The organization and methods of work in the institutions shall resemble as closely as possible those of similar work outside institutions, so as to prepare prisoners for the conditions of normal occupational life.
(2) The interests of the prisoners and of their vocational training, however, must not be subordinated to the purpose of making a financial profit from an industry in the institution.
73. (1) Preferably institutional industries and farms should be operated directly by the administration and not by private contractors.
(2) Where prisoners are employed in work not controlled by the administration, they shall always be under the supervision of the institution's personnel. Unless the work is for other departments of the government the full normal wages for such work shall be paid to the administration by the persons to whom the labour is supplied, account being taken of the output of the prisoners.
74. (1) The precautions laid down to protect the safety and health of free workmen shall be equally observed in institutions.
(2) Provision shall be made to indemnify prisoners against industrial injury, including occupational disease, on terms not less favourable than those extended by law to free workmen.
75. (1) The maximum daily and weekly working hours of the prisoners shall be fixed by law or by administrative regulation, taking into account local rules or custom in regard to the employment of free workmen.
(2) The hours so fixed shall leave one rest day a week and sufficient time for education and other activities required as part of the treatment and rehabilitation of the prisoners.
76. (1) There shall be a system of equitable remuneration of the work of prisoners.
(2) Under the system prisoners shall be allowed to spend at least a part of their earnings on approved articles for their own use and to send a part of their earnings to their family.
(3) The system should also provide that a part of the earnings should be set aside by the administration so as to constitute a savings fund to be handed over to the prisoner on his release.

Education and recreation

77. (1) Provision shall be made for the further education of all prisoners capable of profiting thereby, including religious instruction in the countries where this is possible. The education of illiterates and young prisoners shall be compulsory and special attention shall be paid to it by the administration.
(2) So far as practicable, the education of prisoners shall be integrated with the educational system of the country so that after their release they may continue their education without difficulty.
78. Recreational and cultural activities shall be provided in all institutions for the benefit of the mental and physical health of prisoners.

Social relations and after-care

79. Special attention shall be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between a prisoner and his family as are desirable in the best interests of both.
80. From the beginning of a prisoner's sentence consideration shall be given to his future after release and he shall be encouraged and assisted to maintain or establish such relations with persons or agencies outside the institution as may promote the best interests of his family and his own social rehabilitation.
81. (1) Services and agencies, governmental or otherwise, which assist released prisoners to re-establish themselves in society shall ensure, so far as is possible and necessary, that released prisoners be provided with appropriate documents and identification papers, have suitable s and work to go to, are suitably and adequately clothed having regard to the climate and season, and have sufficient means to reach their destination and maintain themselves in the period immediately following their release.
(2) The approved representatives of such agencies shall have all necessary access to the institution and to prisoners and shall be taken into consultation as to the future of a prisoner from the beginning of his sentence.
(3) It is desirable that the activities of such agencies shall be centralized or co-ordinated as far as possible in order to secure the best use of their efforts.

B. Insane and mentally abnormal prisoners

82. (1) Persons who are found to be insane shall not be detained in prisons and arrangements shall be made to remove them to mental institutions as soon as possible.
(2) Prisoners who suffer from other mental diseases or abnormalities shall be observed and treated in specialized institutions under medical management.
(3) During their stay in a prison, such prisoners shall be placed under the special supervision of a medical officer.
(4) The medical or psychiatric service of the penal institutions shall provide for the psychiatric treatment of all other prisoners who are in need of such treatment.
83. It is desirable that steps should be taken, by arrangement with the appropriate agencies, to ensure if necessary the continuation of psychiatric treatment after release and the provision of social-psychiatric after-care.

C. Prisoners under arrest or awaiting trial

84. (1) Persons arrested or imprisoned by reason of a criminal charge against them, who are detained either in police custody or in prison custody (jail) but have not yet been tried and sentenced, will be referred to as "untried prisoners" hereinafter in these rules.
(2) Unconvicted prisoners are presumed to be innocent and shall be treated as such.
(3) Without prejudice to legal rules for the protection of individual liberty or prescribing the procedure to be observed in respect of untried prisoners, these prisoners shall benefit by a special regime which is described in the following rules in its essential requirements only.
85. (1) Untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoners.
(2) Young untried prisoners shall be kept separate from adults and shall in principle be detained in separate institutions.
86. Untried prisoners shall sleep singly in separate rooms, with the reservation of different local custom in respect of the climate.
87. Within the limits compatible with the good order of the institution, untried prisoners may, if they so desire, have their food procured at their own expense from the outside, either through the administration or through their family or friends. Otherwise, the administration shall provide their food.
88. (1) An untried prisoner shall be allowed to wear his own clothing if it is clean and suitable.
(2) If he wears prison dress, it shall be different from that supplied to convicted prisoners.
89. An untried prisoner shall always be offered opportunity to work, but shall not be required to work. If he chooses to work, he shall be paid for it.
90. An untried prisoner shall be allowed to procure at his own expense or at the expense of a third party such books, newspapers, writing materials and other means of occupation as are compatible with the interests of the administration of justice and the security and good order of the institution.
91. An untried prisoner shall be allowed to be visited and treated by his own doctor or dentist if there is reasonable ground for his application and he is able to pay any expenses incurred.
92. An untried prisoner shall be allowed to inform immediately his family of his detention and shall be given all reasonable facilities for communicating with his family and friends, and for receiving visits from them, subject only to restrictions and supervision as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and of the security and good order of the institution.
93. For the purposes of his defence, an untried prisoner shall be allowed to apply for free legal aid where such aid is available, and to receive visits from his legal adviser with a view to his defence and to prepare and hand to him confidential instructions. For these purposes, he shall if he so desires be supplied with writing material. Interviews between the prisoner and his legal adviser may be within sight but not within the hearing of a police or institution official.

D. Civil prisoners

94. In countries where the law permits imprisonment for debt, or by order of a court under any other non-criminal process, persons so imprisoned shall not be subjected to any greater restriction or severity than is necessary to ensure safe custody and good order. Their treatment shall be not less favourable than that of untried prisoners, with the reservation, however, that they may possibly be required to work.

E. Persons arrested or detained without charge

95. Without prejudice to the provisions of article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, persons arrested or imprisoned without charge shall be accorded the same protection as that accorded under part I and part II, section C. Relevant provisions of part II, section A, shall likewise be applicable where their application may be conducive to the benefit of this special group of persons in custody, provided that no measures shall be taken implying that re-education or rehabilitation is in any way appropriate to persons not convicted of any criminal offence.

Appendix 2 –Commentary regarding the use of restraints

Human rights standards require that instruments of restraint are only used legitimately, for no longer than strictly necessary, and never as a punishment.

The European Committee on Prevention of Torture has recently issued further guidance in the form of the following principles and minimum standards:[36]

Further, the person concerned should be given the opportunity to discuss his/her experience, during and, in any event, as soon as possible after the end of a period of restraint. This discussion should always involve a senior member of the health care staff or another senior member of staff with appropriate training.

[1] OPCAT, Article 19(b).
[2] International human rights instruments are accessible online at the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, see:
[3] ICCPR, Article 10(1); CAT, Article 16(1); UNCROC, Article 37(c).
[4] UDHR, Article 5; ICCPR, Article 7; CAT, Article 16(1); UNCROC, Article 37(a); CRPD, Article 15.
[5] Non binding instruments include:

These documents are accessible online at
[6] The SMR are attached in full as Appendix 1.
[7] Human Rights Commission, (2010), available online at:
[8] Human Rights Commission, (2004), Human Rights in New Zealand Today, Wellington: HRC, p 51.
[9] 10 UN Committee Against Torture (2009), Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture: New Zealand, (42nd Session: CAT/C/NZL/CO/5). Human Rights Committee (2010), Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: New Zealand, (98th Session: CCPR/C/NZL/CO/5).
[11] Taunoa v Attorney-General [2007] NZSC 70, per McGrath J, at para 349.
[12] Brooker v The Police [2007] NZSC 30, per Thomas J, at para 177.
[13] S5, Corrections Act 2004
[14] Stanley, E., (2011), Human Rights and Prisons, Auckland: HRC. Available online at:
[15] Anti-discrimination Commission Queensland, (2006), Women in Prison: a report by the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland. Available online at:
[16] Stanley, E., supra note 13, at p 90.
[17] For example, see: European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, Report to the Government of the Slovak Republic on the visit to the Slovak Republic carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 24 March to 2 April 2009, CPT/Inf, (2010).
Report to the Government of the United Kingdom on the visit to the United Kingdom carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 18 November to 1 December 2008, CPT/Inf (2009).
[18] Ibid., (2009), at para 106.
[19] The CPT is the forerunner to, and the regional equivalent of, the UN Subcommittee for Prevention of Torture. Through ratification of OPCAT New Zealand is subject to regular visits by the SPT.
[20] CPT, Report to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on the visit to
Kosovo ...from 8 to 15 June 20102010, Kosovo, CPT/Inf (2011) 26, para 29.
[21] Commentary is attached as Appendix 2.
[22] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (2008), Report to the Government of Denmark on the visit to Denmark carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 11 to 20 February 2008, CPT/Inf (2008).
[23] Principle 5, UN Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Available online at:
[24] Human Rights Commission, (2011), Monitoring Places of Detention: OPCAT Annual Report 2009-2010, p24.
[25] UN Committee Against Torture (2009), Concluding Observations of the Committee against Torture: New Zealand, (42nd Session: CAT/C/NZL/CO/5), para 9.
[26] SMR 20(2).
[27] See Appendix 1
[28] Wakem, B., McGee, D., (2012), Investigation of the Department of Corrections in relation to the Provision, Access and Availability of Prisoner Health Services, Wellington: Office of the Ombudsmen. Available online at:
[29] Ibid., p110.
[30] Ibid., p75.
[31] SMR 21.
[32] Office of the Ombudsmen, (2011), Report of the Ombudsmen for the year ended 30 June 2011, p 123. Department of Corrections, (2011) Annual Report 2010-11, p97.
[33] Department of Corrections, (2009) Annual Report 2008-9, p 139.
[34] Department of Corrections (2011), supra note 31.
[35] Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, John Ruggie: The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, A/HRC/17/31.
[36] European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (2008), Report to the Government of Denmark on the visit to Denmark carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 11 to 20 February 2008, CPT/Inf (2008).

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