Handbook on Women and Imprisonment

image of Handbook on Women and Imprisonment

This handbook aims to assist legislators, policymakers, prison managers, staff and non-governmental organizations in implementing international standards and norms related to the gender-specific needs of women prisoners, in particular the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Offenders and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders ('the Bangkok Rules'). It further aims to increase awareness about the profile of female offenders and to suggest ways in which to reduce their unnecessary imprisonment, including by rationalising legislation and criminal justice policies, and by providing a wide range of alternatives to prison at all stages of the criminal justice process. The handbook forms part of a series of tools developed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to support countries in implementing the rule of law and the development of criminal justice reform.




The Handbook was prepared for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) by Tomris Atabay, consultant on criminal justice issues. It was updated by Ms. Atabay in 2013, taking into account the provisions of the United Nations Rules on the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), adopted on 21 December 2010, as well as the United Nations Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems, adopted on 20 December 2012.


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