Nelson Mandela Rules

COPCAT Shorts: The Value of Internal Inspection

“Monitoring and inspection mechanisms shed a fresh and critical light on institutions which, by their very nature, are closed environments, and therefore require particular efforts to counter the risk of abuse. The basic function of monitoring and inspecting prisons, whether internal or external, should be seen against this background.
… rule 83 of the Nelson Mandela Rules provides for a twofold system for regular inspections of prisons, which is to consist not only of external inspections conducted by a body independent of the prison administrations, but also of internal or administrative inspections to be conducted by the central prison administration.
In the light of the above, the overall purpose of this checklist is to assist Member States in conducting internal or administrative inspections to assess compliance of their national prison systems with the Nelson Mandela Rules, and thus to facilitate the practical application of the Rules at national level.”

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Assessing compliance with the Nelson Mandela Rules – A checklist for internal inspection mechanisms (2017), excerpts from pages 2-3.

Read UNODC’s Nelson Mandela Rules checklist in English and French.

Internal Inspection document

Read UNODC’s Brochure on the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) in English and French.

UNODC Mandela Brochure

Explore UNODC’s instructional placards on the Nelson Mandela Rules.

Consult UNODC’s numerous other justice and prison reform publications and tools.

Posted by mp

COPCAT Shorts: UNODC Nelson Mandela Rules Posters

Nelson Mandela Rules postersFor readers perhaps not in the know, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has produced a set of five posters on the Nelson Mandela Rules.

More formally known as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, UNODC’s Nelson Mandela Rules posters focus on key provisions of this vitally important soft-law instrument. Alongside we highlight the poster focusing on Rules 43 to 46 on restrictions and sanctions.

However, other ‘instructional placards’ (as UNODC refers to them) focus on detention themes as diverse as the provision of health care and legal aid, the conduct of searches, and the basic principles underpinning the SMRs. These include the treatment of prisoners with respect and without discrimination and the strict prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

The posters are available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish and can be downloaded directly from the UNODC website.

You can download here the English and French versions.

UNODC’s many other invaluable tools and publications on an array of criminal justice issues, including penal reform, can also be downloaded in different languages.


Posted by mp in Publication, Tools