The revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners will be the theme of the 7th International Conference on Human Rights and Prison Reform in San Jose, Costa Rico. Ten panels with participants from 17 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Japan, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and Zambia) will make presentations on different aspects of prison reform based on the Mandela Rules.
Terri LeClercq, retired author and activist from the University of Texas School of Law, will speak on alternative educational methods within prisons. She will contrast both Texas’ and the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ admissions policies to those recommended by the United Nations.
“Fewer than two years ago, the UN unanimously voted for these landmark reforms and named them after Nelson Mandela,” commented Charles Sullivan, the President of International CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) which is sponsoring the conference. In past conferences held in New York City, Washington, Geneva, Abuja, Nigeria, and the last in Bangkok, Thailand, Sullivan continued, “there were many prison reform speeches, but there were no guidelines to structure prison reforms.”
“The Mandela Rules have not only given us the framework for treatment of prisoners in the 21st century,” Sullivan says, “but aim to transform imprisonment from wasted time to personal development, resulting in substantially less crime.”