Your life, your choice Lesson 1

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Your life, your choice Lesson 1

Basic principles for the treatment of prisoners

The following principles are prescribed by the United Nations:

  1. All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
  2. There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
  3. It is, however, desirable to respect the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which prisoners belong, whenever local conditions so require.
  4. The responsibility of prisons for the custody of prisoners and for the protection of society against crime shall be discharged in keeping with a State’s other social objectives and its fundamental responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of society.
  5. All prisoners shall have the right to take part in cultural activities and education aimed at the full development of the human personality.
  6. Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and encouraged.
  7. 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.
  8. Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
  9. With the participation and help of the community and social institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favourable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society under the best possible conditions.
  10. The above Principles shall be applied impartially.

In addition to the above, prisoners also have the following rights:
11. The Department of Correctional Services aims to provide spiritual care for each offender.
12. An offender has the right to attend spiritual care programs at the discretion of the Chaplain.
13. Spiritual care programs must be provided to meet the spiritual needs of the offenders in all correctional facilities. Needs based intervention programs aimed at correcting the offender’s behaviour may be run.
14. No offender should be forced to attend spiritual services or meetings or take part in spiritual practices.
15. The right to freedom of religion of every offender must be respected at all times.
16. Proselytising – canvassing or persuading offenders to a church or faith – is not allowed.
17. All persons deprived of their liberty shall have the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, drinking water, accommodation, clothing and bedding.
18. Accommodation for prisoners shall provide adequate cubic content of air, floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
19. Prisoners required to share sleeping accommodation shall be carefully selected and supervised at night.
20. Adequate food and drinking water are human rights.
21. All prisoners shall have access to a qualified dental practitioner.
22. Education in prisons should be aimed at developing the whole person, taking account of prisoners’ social, economic and cultural background. Education shall be compulsory for young prisoners and illiterate prisoners. The prison authorities should give this high priority.
23. The outside community should be involved as much as possible in educational and cultural activities in prisons.
24. A prisoner’s request to be held in a prison near his or her home shall be granted as far as possible.
25. Every prisoner on admission shall be provided with written information on regulations and on complaints and disciplinary procedures in a language which he or she understands. If necessary, these rules should be explained orally.
26. Women prisoners shall not suffer discrimination and shall be protected from all forms of violence or exploitation. Women prisoners shall be detained separately from male prisoners.
27. Women prisoners shall be supervised and searched only by female officers and staff.
28. Children who are detained shall be treated in a manner which promotes their sense of dignity and worth, facilitates their reintegration into society, reflects their best interests and takes their needs into account.
29. Children shall not be subjected to corporal punishment, capital punishment or life imprisonment without possibility of release. Children who are detained shall be separated from adult prisoners.
30. Offenders who are detained, including every sentenced inmate, have the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment.
31. Visitors are allowed, but will be searched and briefed on the rules of the visiting area. The offender/remand detainee has the right to decide whether or not to see the visitor.
32. Visitors may bring books and certain items to offenders, obeying the rules and respecting the authorities of the prison at all times.
33. Distribution of religious literature and observation of religious holidays are permitted.

Reference: The information concerning the UN principles for the treatmentof prisoners can be found at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ BasicPrinciplesTreatmentOfPrisoners.aspx


Group discussion

1. If you could add another right, what would it be?

2. Write down at least three rights that stood out for you. Explain why they stood out for you and add your own thoughts about them:
a. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

b. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

c. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

3. With these rights come responsibilities, as well as respect for fellow inmates, wardens, spiritual coordinators, community members, family and friends. What responsibilities come with the three rights you have chosen? How do these responsibilities affect you?

4. The Bible contains guidelines and commands that God has given us to live by. In the New Testament the greatest of these commands is to love God first, and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. In the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. In your opinion, do we still need to obey those commandments today? How do those commandments relate to the rights and responsibilities of offenders which we have discussed in this lesson?







Sections

Basic principles for the treatment of prisoners

The following principles are prescribed by the United Nations:

  1. All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
  2. There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
  3. It is, however, desirable to respect the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which prisoners belong, whenever local conditions so require.
  4. The responsibility of prisons for the custody of prisoners and for the protection of society against crime shall be discharged in keeping with a State’s other social objectives and its fundamental responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of society.
  5. All prisoners shall have the right to take part in cultural activities and education aimed at the full development of the human personality.
  6. Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and encouraged.
  7. 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.
  8. Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
  9. With the participation and help of the community and social institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favourable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society under the best possible conditions.
  10. The above Principles shall be applied impartially.

In addition to the above, prisoners also have the following rights:
11. The Department of Correctional Services aims to provide spiritual care for each offender.
12. An offender has the right to attend spiritual care programs at the discretion of the Chaplain.
13. Spiritual care programs must be provided to meet the spiritual needs of the offenders in all correctional facilities. Needs based intervention programs aimed at correcting the offender’s behaviour may be run.
14. No offender should be forced to attend spiritual services or meetings or take part in spiritual practices.
15. The right to freedom of religion of every offender must be respected at all times.
16. Proselytising – canvassing or persuading offenders to a church or faith – is not allowed.
17. All persons deprived of their liberty shall have the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, drinking water, accommodation, clothing and bedding.
18. Accommodation for prisoners shall provide adequate cubic content of air, floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
19. Prisoners required to share sleeping accommodation shall be carefully selected and supervised at night.
20. Adequate food and drinking water are human rights.
21. All prisoners shall have access to a qualified dental practitioner.
22. Education in prisons should be aimed at developing the whole person, taking account of prisoners’ social, economic and cultural background. Education shall be compulsory for young prisoners and illiterate prisoners. The prison authorities should give this high priority.
23. The outside community should be involved as much as possible in educational and cultural activities in prisons.
24. A prisoner’s request to be held in a prison near his or her home shall be granted as far as possible.
25. Every prisoner on admission shall be provided with written information on regulations and on complaints and disciplinary procedures in a language which he or she understands. If necessary, these rules should be explained orally.
26. Women prisoners shall not suffer discrimination and shall be protected from all forms of violence or exploitation. Women prisoners shall be detained separately from male prisoners.
27. Women prisoners shall be supervised and searched only by female officers and staff.
28. Children who are detained shall be treated in a manner which promotes their sense of dignity and worth, facilitates their reintegration into society, reflects their best interests and takes their needs into account.
29. Children shall not be subjected to corporal punishment, capital punishment or life imprisonment without possibility of release. Children who are detained shall be separated from adult prisoners.
30. Offenders who are detained, including every sentenced inmate, have the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment.
31. Visitors are allowed, but will be searched and briefed on the rules of the visiting area. The offender/remand detainee has the right to decide whether or not to see the visitor.
32. Visitors may bring books and certain items to offenders, obeying the rules and respecting the authorities of the prison at all times.
33. Distribution of religious literature and observation of religious holidays are permitted.

Reference: The information concerning the UN principles for the treatmentof prisoners can be found at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ BasicPrinciplesTreatmentOfPrisoners.aspx

Group discussion

1. If you could add another right, what would it be?

2. Write down at least three rights that stood out for you. Explain why they stood out for you and add your own thoughts about them:
a. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

b. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

c. Right that stood out for me:
Reason:
My own thoughts:

3. With these rights come responsibilities, as well as respect for fellow inmates, wardens, spiritual coordinators, community members, family and friends. What responsibilities come with the three rights you have chosen? How do these responsibilities affect you?

4. The Bible contains guidelines and commands that God has given us to live by. In the New Testament the greatest of these commands is to love God first, and to love your neighbour as you love yourself. In the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments. In your opinion, do we still need to obey those commandments today? How do those commandments relate to the rights and responsibilities of offenders which we have discussed in this lesson?

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