For Immediate Release
Friday, May 22, 2015
U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Colorado Department of Corrections
JOINT MEDIA NOTE
Colorado Department of Corrections, U.S. State Department Help Successful United Nations Push to Update Antiquated Standards for Treatment of Prisoners
With key players from the Colorado, Washington State, and United States governments present, on May 22 in Vienna the United Nations (UN) Crime Commission -- under the leadership of South Africa and with the support of Canada, Poland, Uruguay, and the United States – successfully adopted the first update in 60 years of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMRs). These international standards, which will guide nations’ practices around the world, are known as the “Mandela Rules” in honor of the late South African president and civil rights hero who spent many years confined to Robben Island prison.
From May 18-22, Rick Raemisch, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, joined Director Bernard Warner of the Washington State Department of Corrections and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Luis E. Arreaga at the 24th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The adoption of the new SMRs at this UN session was the capstone to a process that began in 2012 to review and update these important standards. The new global standards are based on the latest advances in correctional science and international good practices in criminal justice. In addition to contributing his Colorado-based expertise in the formal UN session, Mr. Raemisch participated in a panel discussion on Colorado's "solitary confinement" reforms.
While not legally binding, the SMRs provide minimally acceptable standards and practical guidelines for correctional professionals worldwide regarding the treatment of individuals held in correctional facilities. The United States uses the SMRs as a baseline document in delivering corrections-related technical assistance and capacity building to partner countries. The United Nations frequently draws upon experts from U.S. correctional systems, such as Colorado, which regularly implement the SMRs in their daily operations to train and mentor foreign partners as part of U.S. assistance programs.
For additional information regarding Colorado's role in this process, or to request an interview, please contact the Colorado Department of Corrections Public Information Office at email@example.com or 719-226-4773.
The State Department is available to speak to press regarding this program and the role of Washington and Colorado officials. For additional information or to request such an interview with Department of State officials, please contact the INL Press Office at INL-PAPD@state.gov, or call 202-634-1167.