The Raoul Wallenberg Institute arranged a seminar on Monday on human rights in correctional services to kick off a week-long study visit by the Kenya Prison Service (KPS).
“Kenya Prisons Service has decided that the future lies in a human rights-based approach to prison management, and has commissioned a special committee at the top level of the service to ensure that compliance with international human rights standards is the driving force behind their reform programme,” says Josh Ounsted, the head of RWI’s office in Nairobi.
The delegates on this visit will visit a number of Swedish prisons to examine Sweden’s approach to key areas of the international standards, including security routines, staff training, family contact and classification of prisoners, in order to help establish good practices for implementation in the Kenyan context.
The visit is intended to support the work of the KPS Departmental Human Rights Committee, a new body formed in November 2014. The committee is mandated to advise the Commissioner General of Prisons on human rights matters, coordinate human rights activities in prisons, and monitor compliance with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and other relevant standards within the Kenyan system.
KPS has recently demonstrated its commitment to human rights by integrating the newly revised Standard Minimum Rules – known as the “Mandela Rules” – into their draft prisons law.
“This tour will align itself with the objective of helping KPS improve its approach to prison management through increased compliance to the rules, which are the guiding tool in our cooperation,” says Damaris Seina, Programme Officer in Kenya.
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has been working in cooperation with KPS to introduce sustainable human rights reforms since 2008.