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NCJ Number: 99528 Find in a Library
Title: Inhumane, Cruel, and Degrading Treatment of Criminal Prisoners Throughout the World
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:2  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1985)  Pages:345-362
Author(s): K N Wright; D L Cingranelli
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 18
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A content analysis of the 1981 volume of the Department of State's report on human rights practices in 155 nations found that almost 60 percent failed to meet at least 1 international standard of minimal humane treatment for criminal prisoners.
Abstract: A review of United Nations standards governing the treatment of prisoners, and past efforts to evaluate the effect of its attempts to regulate prison practices, demonstrates the scarcity of information about the success of such activities. This study's analysis of the State Department's Country Reports focused on the following indicators: harsh and primitive conditions, overcrowded living situations, inadequate sanitary conditions, inadequate nutrition, failure to allow visitation, physical mistreatment of prisoners, substandard medical care, and forced labor for long hours. The results showed that 90 nations violate prisoners rights in some way. In over one-third of the nations, conditions were reported to be harsh and punitive. Nutrition was inadequate in every fifth nation. Inadequate sanitary conditions, physical mistreatment, and substandard medical treatment occurred in every seventh nation. United Nations activity in this area appeared ineffective. For example, 59 of the nations in the sample had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but 51 percent of these same nations still mistreated prisoners. The study also discovered a very strong relationship between level of economic development and failure to meet minimum rules of treatment. Almost all of the poorest countries have prisons where conditions and practices are cruel, inhumane, and degrading. Tables, 3 footnotes, and approximately 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries; Human rights violations; Prison conditions; Prisoner's rights; United Nations standards
Note: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meetings of the American Society of Criminology, Denver, Colorado, November, 1983.
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