A worldwide perspective: how long should prisoners be held on death row before they are executed?

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Manuel Valle was sentenced to death, aged 27, on the 10th of May 1978 for murdering a police officer earlier that year. He is now aged 61 and still on death row in Florida awaiting execution after 33 years. He has been tried and sentenced to death three times, as his first two trials were found to have been unconstitutional.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Florida’s death row cells ...

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Should UN Prison Standards be revised?

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Work is underway at the United Nations to revise the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR’s). The current rules were first agreed by the UN in 1955 and were revised in the seventies. While they have limited direct force in international law, they have provided the basis for prison legislation and reform programmes in many of the 193 member states of the UN and are widely known, if not adhered to, among prison officials the world over ...

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Definition of Rule of Law?

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While the pursuit of a definition of Rule of Law remains elusive and keeps many happy and occupied, the central place of criminal justice and of prisons  remains largely undisputed.

International law and standards provide a robust framework of norms. Yet ideas about the specific purpose of prison and nature of imprisonment vary greatly between and within different parts of the world.

Justice and Prisons’ experience is that the value of prisons in upholding the rule of law and in contributing to ...

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