The Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) organized the third training session on “The Implementation of the Bangkok Rules” for senior ASEAN correctional officers to advocate a new standard of conduct for women prisoners to align with human rights perspectives, prepare inmates for their reintegration to society and reduce reoffending chances. The training also helps promote the Bangkok Rules implementation across the ASEAN region.
Presently, the percentage of female inmates has been significantly increasing across the globe whereas most of the prisons were built for men inmates. This issue and the issues of physical or psychological health with differences in gender-related requirements, led to the proposal for the implementation of the “United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders” or the “Bangkok Rules,” which provides provides measures that that do not require confinement, initiated by HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha, and strongly supported by the Thai Government. The United Nations Assembly adopted the “Bangkok Rules” on December 21, 2010.
The Bangkok Rules take into account existing standards and norms including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR) and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules on Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), while incorporating elements of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Prof. Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak, Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice, stated that, “The overpopulation of female inmates is a global problem, and it affects the management within prison and the rehabilitation of prisoners. To address this, the TIJ uses training as a key tool and hopes that it will help to nurture a better understanding amongst correctional officers across the ASEAN region about the gender-related requirements of women prisoners.”
This was the third training session on the implementation of the Bangkok Rules that the TIJ in consultation with international practitioners and experts in the field of corrections has developed a training on the Management of Women Prisoners for Senior Correctional Staff in the ASEAN Region towards promoting effective implementation of international standards and norms to ensure the protection of women behind bars. It aims to provide guidance and practical knowledge on translating the Bangkok Rules into practice. Using an Action Plan format, it will assist the participants in designing a framework for implementing the Bangkok Rules and other international standards.
Between the 10th-21st December 2018 training session, approximately 30 participants have been involved in learning the significance of the international standards and norms in the treatment of prisoners such as the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules) and the Bangkok Rules, the history, content and requirements of the Bangkok Rules and supporting human rights documents through pre-training reading and on-site training (a study visit to Rayong Prison and Khao Mai Kaeo Open Prison), and engaging in information sharing about their experiences and operational practices in managing women’s prisons which will lead to the creation of a confidential self-assessment of their system’s current or planned initiatives grounded in the Bangkok Rules. They would have the capability to draft and share an Action Plan for increasing compliance with the Bangkok Rules and other international standards. In addition, this gathering will help create a strong network of senior correctional officers across the ASEAN region.
“The most important thing is that the training is designed to create collaboration among senior correctional staff in the ASEAN region.” Ms. Chontit Chuenurah, the Head of the Implementation of the Bangkok Rules and Treatment of Offenders Programne of the TIJ, added.
The training session covered 12 topics, all of which are the foundation for the implementation of the Bangkok Rules:
1. Management within prison grounds with an emphasis on gender.
2. Assignment of the prison grounds, entrance, and filtering.
3. General health and sanitary measures.
4. Health attentiveness in the case of special requirements.
5. The safety of women prisoners.
6. Regulations and safety measures within female prisons.
7. Contacting the outside world.
8. Activities and programs to rehabilitate female inmates.
9. Pregnant women, mothers, and juveniles living in prisons.
10. Groups of individuals who require special attention.
11. Preparing for release.
12. Correctional officer operations related to women prisoners.