ICRC receives award for work in prisons

The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) has presented the ICRC with an award for our efforts to improve the lives of detainees by supporting prison authorities.

The award was presented at the Association's annual conference in Bucharest, which brought together more than 400 participants from 75 countries, including prison administrators and independent experts.

ICPA president Peter van der Sande praised the ICRC's steps 'to ensure humane treatment and conditions for all detainees, regardless of the reasons for their arrest and detention'. He also welcomed the ICRC's efforts to help national authorities 'develop the systems and practices that will enable them to meet the essential needs of detainees in secure and human circumstances'.

The award recognizes the ICRC's detention work around the world and provides an opportunity for us to promote our work and strengthen our dialogue with national prison authorities.

The theme of the one-week conference was "Correctional Leadership: Engaging Hearts and Minds," and participants discussed the critical role of leadership in such areas as prison planning and architecture, (de)radicalization in detention, segregation in the light of the revised Nelson Mandela Rules, were all directly relevant to the ICRC's work in prisons.

The conference also looked at new technology in prisons. On the one hand, there is the risk of technology being introduced purely for profit, replacing human contact or leading to excessive restrictions on inmates. On the other hand, such technologies as e-learning or video calls between inmates and families can be of great benefit.

The ICRC hopes that those countries whose representatives attended will continue to meet, and that countries not present this year will be represented at the 2017 ICPA conference. The theme of next year's event (to be held in London from 22 to 27 October 2017) will be "Innovation in rehabilitation: Building better futures."

The International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) is a network of professionals working in correctional and prison services around the world. It promotes policies and standards for humane and effective detention practices and assists in their development and implementation.