Assessing Compliance with the Nelson Mandela Rules

A Checklist for Internal Inspection Mechanisms

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The overall purpose of this checklist is to assist Member States in conducting internal or administrative inspections to assess compliance of their national prison systems with the Nelson Mandela Rules, and thus to facilitate the practical application of the Rules at national level. More specifically, it aims to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of internal inspection systems conducted by the central prison administration as important agents of change now explicitly referred to in the Rules in their task of contributing to the creation of prison conditions and management in line with national law as well as with international standards and norms.




The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners have constituted the universally acknowledged minimum standards for the management of prison facilities and the treatment of prisoners, and have been of tremendous value and influence in the development of prison laws, policies and practices in Member States all over the world. Following an extensive inter-governmental review process initiated to reflect advances in international law and correctional science, the General Assembly adopted, in 2015, a revised set of the rules as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). A truly updated blueprint for prison management in the twenty-first century, the rules were to be known as the Nelson Mandela Rules in order to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who had to spend 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for human rights, democracy and the promotion of a culture of peace.


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