UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners debated in Cape Town

The Government of South Africa is hosting the fourth expert group meeting for the revision of these rules from 2-5 March 2015. Lukas Muntingh of CSPRI is attending as an independent observer.

The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR), adopted in 1957, are the key standard for the treatment of prisoners globally. In December 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 65/230, requesting the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) to establish an open-ended intergovernmental expert group to "exchange information" on revision of the rules so that they reflect recent advances in correctional science and best practices.

Three intergovernmental expert group meetings have been held, which began by using a "targeted revision" approach which highlights areas and issues in the current text. At the third meeting  delegations from some 60 countries came together for the start of negotiations on a revised set of rules. Following the third meeting,  the 23rd session of the Crime Commission held on 12 to 16 May 2014 adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the expert group, with the aim of reaching consensus and requesting them to report to thethirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in Doha, Qatar, from 12 to 19 April 2015 and to the CCPCJ in 2015.

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