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Management of Women Prisoners in Custody

ICPA promotes the United Nation Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial measures for Women Offenders (The Bangkok Rules) and the Mandela Rules as standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. In that context ICPA particularly highlights the following principles for the development of policies and procedures for the management of women prisoners:

  • Women have unique sociological, psychological, and medical needs which must be recognised and addressed through evidence-based, gender-responsive correctional procedures and practices.
  • Women prisoners should be provided with opportunities for work and training to improve their future employment prospects.
  • Assessment, programs, therapy and counselling for women prisoners need to be designed on the basis of their unique needs.
  • Women prisoners generally are a lower security risk than men which should be reflected in prison design and daily routines.
  • Women are often primary care-givers for children and consideration should always be given to allow very young children, particularly infants, to stay with their mothers in custody.
  • Where children are allowed to stay with their mothers in prison, cells and other facilities should be adapted taking into account the best interests of the children to enhance their psychological, social and emotional bonding with their mother.
  • As much as practicable, women prisoners should be placed close to their home to help maintain contact with family members, especially their children, and to enhance the preparation of their return to the community.
  • Staff training and development must be structured with reference to both evidence-based and gender-responsive principles surrounding the unique needs of women prisoners.

This founding statement of ICPA was approved by the ICPA Board of Directors on 27 July 2016 and ratified by the members of the Corporation on the Annual General Meeting in Bucharest Romania 25 October 2016 

Image: Singapore Prison Service