Good Practice 2

States should ensure that their legal frameworks allow for targeted and tailored targeted rehabilitation and reintegration efforts for special categories of individuals.

There are certain categories of offenders that may have different rehabilitation and reintegration needs. Therefore, countries should ensure that the legal framework allows for tailored efforts for particular categories of offenders such as juveniles, individuals suffering from mental illness or cognitive deficits, women, and foreigners. In regards to juveniles, the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice may provide some overarching guidance on rehabilitation and reintegration policies and procedures. For instance, there are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules)11, the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (the Havana Rules)12, the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines)13, and  the United Nations Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System14. All of these documents emphasize the need for a variety of different services and facilities designed to meet the different needs of young offenders re-entering the community. Countries may wish to review their criminal justice laws and criminal procedural codes to see if there are adequate allowances for rehabilitating and reintegrating juveniles.

The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules)15 recognize the specific conditions and needs of women prisoners. Specifically, these rules state that “prison authorities, in cooperation with probation and/or social welfare services, local community groups and non-governmental organizations, shall design and implement comprehensive pre- and post-release reintegration programs which take into account the gender-specific needs of women.”16 The Bangkok Rules also call for the use of relevant bilateral or multilateral agreements to transfer non-resident foreign-national women prisoners to their home country. This also dovetails with the need to conduct an overall review of a country’s laws and international agreements regarding transfer of offenders, which may have an impact on rehabilitation and reintegration efforts. There are a host of questions and issues surrounding the rehabilitation and reintegration of foreign-national prisoners such if they are to be deported upon having served their sentence, will they receive the rehabilitation assistance and where will they be reintegrated. It is important to address these types of issues as early as possible so that the appropriate legal frameworks are in place for proper treatment of these individuals.

11. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/40/33 (29 November 1985).

12. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/45/113 (14 December 1990).

13. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/45/112 (14 December 1990).

14. Economic and Social Council Resolution 1997/30 (21 July 1997).

15. General Assembly Resolution A/RES/65/229 (21 December 2010).

16. Ibid at Rule 46.