News archive 2002
Foreign Secretary launches King's Prison Handbook20 Nov 2002, PR 52/02
Jack Straw, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will today launch a major new handbook on prison management which translates universally agreed standards on prison reform into practical guidance for prison staff.
Written by Dr Andrew Coyle, Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS), King's College London, it is entitled A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management. Andrew Coyle emphasises the need for prison management to be undertaken within an ethical context and that the international human rights instruments provide a good basis to ensure that happens.
Mr Straw welcomed this new work saying:
'This comprehensive handbook aims to translate universally agreed standards on prison reform into practical guidance for prison staff. It has been written by Andrew Coyle who had years of good experience running prisons, before sharing his expertise as head of the International Centre for Prison Studies. I am sure it will be well received by government ministers, international organisations and prison staff alike.'
Dr Coyle called for an ethical context in which to look at prison management:
'In its work the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's has found that a very effective way of ensuring that prison management operates within an ethical context is by measuring it against the wide range of human rights covenants and standards relating to imprisonment. This is exactly what this new Handbook sets out to do. I believe it will meet a frequently expressed need in many countries and hope that it will become a standard text for training prison staff all around the world.'
There is increasing use of imprisonment around the world and from the countries in which ICPS works, a number of common problems such as overcrowding, disease and ill health, inactivity, violence and abuse are common. Also the staff who are poorly paid and badly trained have little respect in society.
Dr Coyle also said that:
'These factors have significant implications for prison management and it is vital to recognise that the management of prisons is an important public service. Those staff who work in prisons need to be professionally competent and it is important that prisons should be well-managed but this is not sufficient in itself, there must be an ethical context.'
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London with some 12,400 undergraduate students and over 4,700 postgraduates in ten schools of study. The College had 24 of its subject-areas awarded the highest rating of 5* and 5 for research quality, demonstrating excellence at an international level. It is in the top group of five universities for research earnings and has an annual turnover of over £300 million and research income from grants and contracts in excess of £90 million (2001-2002).
The International Centre for Prison Studies The International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London seeks to assist governments and other relevant agencies to develop appropriate policies on prisons and the use of imprisonment. It carries out its work on a project or consultancy basis for international agencies, governmental and non-governmental organisations.
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