“Prison Overcrowding and the Need for Urgent Reform”

Introduction

Prisons are a direct reflection of a country’s administrative, legislative and judicial systems.

Hidden from public view, facing stigmatization and afforded little public sympathy, prisoners face a greater risk of having their human rights abused. These issues are compounded even further in light of rising prison populations around the world and the prevalence of prison overcrowding. Reducing prison overcrowding, is an essential first step in reforming the criminal justice system in Burma where prisons have a notorious history of human rights abuses and impunity.

Presidential amnesties, as have occurred in Burma and the construction of more prisons, as is proposed, are short term and costly solutions to much more systemic issues, that contribute to prison overcrowding. If laws and prison conditions remain unchanged, these measures will not have a lasting impact on improving human rights in prisons. Systemic reform, addressing issues related to broader issues of social justice, disproportionate punishments, and the lack of an adequate separation of powers in Burma will ensure sustainable and long-term solutions to prison overcrowding can be implemented, reducing the high social and financial costs of incarceration. This will improve prospects for development, the advancement of human rights and social justice for all of Burma.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) urges the Government of Myanmar to seize this opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to ending human rights abuses across Burma by actively engaging in prison reform, starting with the most pressing issue of prison overcrowding.

Prison overcrowding places an enormous amount of strain on public resources. Its prevalence results in the violation of a number of human rights, creating conditions detrimental to the physical and mental health of prisoners, as well as prison staff. Overcrowding inhibits the ability of correctional facilities to perform the ‘corrective’ functions they should aim to achieve with a view to the re-entry of prisoners into society. In addition to the dangerous conditions overcrowding creates for prisoners themselves, prison staff are often overworked and face threats to their own health and safety.

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အစီရင္ခံစာကို ျမန္မာဘာသာျဖင့္ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူပါ။

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