By Penal Reform International and the Thailand Institute of Justice
Each year, Penal Reform International (PRI) and the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) publish our joint Global Prison Trends report to share information and analysis on key trends and developments in prisons. This year in our 8th edition of Global Prison Trends, we continue to document the trends in the use of imprisonment, changes and issues faced by people belonging to certain – and often vulnerable – segments of prison populations, as well as prison management and the use of technologies.
With the dearth of data in many prison systems, Global Prison Trends is pivotal in bringing to light the information that is available to identify and highlight key trends affecting the 11.5 million people in prisons worldwide. Data and information are critical in the global struggles facing societies, especially in managing crises as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic or as conflict breaks out. Data is also vital in challenging exclusion, realising human rights of those most left
behind and keeping governments true to their commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the global prison population rises year-on-year, we see the need for stronger action to reform policies and laws that drive this growth. These outdated policies and laws counter both longstanding and recent commitments to reduce imprisonment and implement rehabilitative-focused criminal justice systems. For example, the first ever United Nations System
Common Position on Incarceration states unequivocally the negative impact of using imprisonment as the ‘default’, including the ‘acute’ crisis of overcrowding.