Prisoner’s Rights

“Detainee” or “detained person” means any person deprived of personal liberty except as a result of conviction for an offence. “Imprisoned person” or “prisoner” means any person deprived of personal liberty as a result of conviction for an offence.


– All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated humanely

– Detained persons shall be held in officially recognized places. Information shall be readily made available to the detainee’s family and legal representative

– Decisions about the duration and legality of detention or imprisonment of a person must be made by a judge or similar authority

– There shall be no discrimination in detention or imprisonment on the grounds of race, color, gender, language, religion, political beliefs, national or social origin, property birth or other status. Religious and moral beliefs of the detainee shall be respected

– Different categories of prisoners are to be detained separately. Juvenile detainees are to be kept separate from adult detainees male detainees from female detainees; and unconvicted detainees from convicted detainees

– A detained person shall receive prompt and full information about any order of detention including the reasons for the detention

– A detained or imprisoned person has the right to be visited by family members and shall be given adequate opportunity to communicate with the outside world

– A detained or imprisoned person is entitled to communicate privately and in person with his or her legal representative

– Persons detained in an armed conflict situation are entitled to communicate with the delegate of the international committee of the Red Cross

– The place where the prisoner is kept, especially the place where the prisoner sleeps should be designed to preserve the prisoner’s health. The prisoner shall be provided with adequate food, shelter, and clothing, as well as equal and easy access to medical services, exercise, and items or personal hygiene

– Restriction and supervision of the prisoner are allowed only if they are necessary for the administration of justice and for the security and good order of the place where the prisoner is held

– Disciplinary measures administered in prison must be consistent with principles of human rights. In particular prisoners shall:

– Be punished only in accordance with the terms of law or regulations of the competent administrative authority

– Be punished only when they have been informed of the offence committed previously and given a proper opportunity of presenting a defense. The competent authority shall conduct a thorough examination of the case

– Never be punished twice for the same offence

– Never be subjected to corporal punishment, to placement in a dark cell or to other cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment

– Tools of restraint such as handcuffs and straight-jackets must not be used for any longer time than is necessary, and shall never be used for punishment. Situations when such tools of restraint might be permitted are

– As a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they shall be removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority

– On medical grounds by direction of the medical officer; and by order of the director of the prison, if other methods of control fail, in order to prevent prisoners from injuring themselves or others or from damaging property. In such instances the director shall immediately consul the medical officer and report to the higher administrative authority

– The patterns and manner of use of instruments of restraint shall be decided by the central prison administration or a higher authority


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