Who in the world knows?Finding the answers to difficult international criminal justice questions related to corrections is never easy, especially for accurate or verified data. Much of the world lacks the sophisticated research personnel, equipment and budgets necessary to produce data in an easily retrievable format. Also, many nations view their crime, court and corrections data as sources of embarrassment and, thus, these figures are modified for propaganda purposes.
Unlike a few years ago when reliable information and research on corrections in many nations was difficult to find, today there is almost too much material to sift through when looking for answers to specific questions. At the same time, the Internet has allowed many individuals with high-sounding titles to produce articles that are based more on opinion than fact. Wikipedia, which is often useful, is not necessarily filled with evidence-based information. Individuals who have worked for years in one nation's prisons may or may not be able to provide an accurate analysis or opinion of the prisons of another nation--or even another jurisdiction in their own nation. So, as with all information and research, the normal caution applies. Therefore, it is important to check the sources and methodology, as well as the ideology, politics and bias of the authors. Most people wno nave worked in or with corrections in the U.S. or Canada are familiar with how pundits and detractors have used a little bit of information to "prove" a false point. Some of the below sources have their own bias or agendas. That does not make their information incorrect - but it does mean that the user must verify sources and data as much as possible.
However, there are some excellent sources of information that can help one obtain answers on a national, regional or international level or that can help determine the accuracy of information received from other sources. Be aware that some of the organizations and sources listed below receive only enough financial support to do the work they are mandated to do by their own boards or governing agencies. Therefore, be prepared to pay the cost (including postage) of any requested booklets or documents.
Google News. Google News (www.news.google.com) is a free source with which to start. Once on the site, there are several search options. For example, search for a specific topic (e.g., "prisons, corrections") to get an immediate look at the current news on the topic, or click on "add any news topic" in the right hand column under "personalize Google news," and type in "prisons, corrections." Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) allow information seekers to opt into receiving an immediate, daily or weekly email that compiles articles about prisons or corrections. As an example, using the keyword "prisons" (though it's recommended that both "prisons" and "corrections" be used together as keywords), a daily email would compile about 40 articles on the topic.
International Corrections and Prisons Association for the Advancement of Professional Corrections. This association (www.icpa.ca) hosts conferences and provides information and consultation services. Of particular interest to correctional trainers is the association's staff training and development website at www.icpa-training.com.
World Prison Brief. World Prison Brief (www.prison studies.org/info/worldbrief/index.php) is part of the In-ternational Centre for Prison Studies of Kings College. The brief contains information on the prison systems of most nations of the world. The information includes the name of the prison administration, contact information, head of the prison administration, prison populations and statistical breakdown of remand, female, juvenile and foreign inmates. The statistical data include the number of facilities, incar-ceration numbers and rate, number of establishments and occupancy level (percentage over or under capacity).
The U.N. Rule of Law (UNROL). The UNROL website and document repository at www.unrol.org was recently launched by the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group and the Rule of Law Unit. UNROL is a promotional and educational tool for practitioners and the gen-eral public. It seeks to inform users about the U.N.'s work in the field of rule of law, and its efforts to coordinate and strengthen systemwide approaches in this field. It is the central U.N. rule of law Webbased resource, serving as a gateway to the rest of the U.N.'s related sites, and making information more widely accessible about U.N. rule of law issues and activities, and the various tools, documents and materials on the subject. The document repository comprises rule of law tools and materials website. UNROL is also an avenue for users to access other Web resources on or related to rule of law, developed by the U.N. or external organizations.
U.N. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program Network Institutes
The U.N. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program network consists of the U.N. Center for International Crime Prevention and a number of regional and inter regional institutes around the world, as well as specialized centers. It has been developed to assist the international community in strengthening international cooperation in the crucial area of crime prevention and criminal justice. Its components provide a variety of services, including exchange of information, research, training and public education. The following may be helpful to those seeking information on corrections.
U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The UNODC in Vienna, Austria (www.unodc.org) is the U.N. office responsible for crime prevention, criminal justice and criminal law reform. It promotes internationally recognized principles, standards and norms in such areas as independence of the judiciary, protection of victims, juvenile justice, alternatives to imprisonment, treatment of inmates, police use of force, mutual legal assistance, extra-dition and other matters pertaining to criminal justice and crime prevention.
U.N. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). The UNICRI in Turin, Italy (www.unicri.it), carries out a wide range of activities focusing on action-oriented research, training and technical cooperation, particularly on issues of concern to developing countries with economies in transition.
U.N. Asia and Far East Institute for the Pretention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). UNAFEI in Tokyo, Japan (www.unafei.or.jp/english), focuses on training and research to promote the sound development of criminal justice systems and mutual cooperation in Asia and the Pacific Region. The institute addresses urgent, contemporary problems in the administration of criminal justice, paying the utmost attention to the trends and activities of the U.N., and the needs of the countries concerned.
U.N. Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ELANUD). ILANUD in San Jose, Costa Rica (www.ilanud.or.cr), assists countries in the region, providing assistance in implementing programs and projects based on research to provide policy guidance as well as designing projects for the improvement of the administration of justice and obtaining the required funding from international donor agencies.
European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNQ. The primary objective of HEUNI in Helsinki, Finland (www.heuni.fi), is to promote the international exchange of information on crime prevention and control among European countries. Its main activities include the organization of meetings, research and the provision of technical assistance to governments on request.
U.N. African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI). UNAFRI in Kampala, Uganda (www.unafri.or.ug), serves African countries in the field of crime prevention and the treatment of offenders, acting as a vehicle for coordination and collaboration in the fight against crime. The main activities are training and human resource development, research and policy development, information and documentation, ad-visory services to governments and promotion of joint activities and strategies.
Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS). NAUSS in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (www.nauss.edu.sa), an intergovernmental organization operating under the aegis of the Council of Arab Ministers of Interior, carries out various interdisciplinary and crosssectoral activities to serve the needs of Arab states in the fields of crime prevention, security and safety. The academic institutions comprising NAUSS are the Institute of Graduate Studies, the Training Institute, the Department of Scientific Affairs and the Department of International Cooperation.
Australian Institute of Criminology. The Australian Institute of Criminology in Canberra, Australia (www.aic. gov.au), a federal government agency, is Australia's national center for the analysis and dissemination of criminological data and information. A national criminal justice library backs up its research activities. Most publications are available, in full, on the institute's website.
International Center for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy. The role of this center in Vancouver, Canada (www.icclr.law.ubc.ca), is to contribute to local, national and international law reform initiatives and to improve the administration of criminal justice. Its objective is the promotion of the rule of law, human rights, democracy and good governance. The center focuses its activities on technical cooperation, research, training and advisory services.
International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC). ISISC in Siracusa. Italy (www. isisc.org), is a scientific institution devoted to higher education, studies, research, training and technical assistance in matters pertaining to international and comparative criminal law, international humanitarian law and security issues.
National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ in Washington, D.C., (www.nij.gov), is the research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. The institute's mission includes developing knowledge that will reduce crime, enhance public safety and improve the administration of justice. NIJ sponsors basic/applied research, evaluations and pilot program demonstrations; develops new technologies; and disseminates criminal justice information.
Korean Institute of Criminology (KIC). KIC in Seoul, Korea (www.kic.re.kr), is a national research institute in crime and criminal justice. It conducts comprehensive and interdisciplinary research on crime trends, criminal laws, criminal justice, juvenile delinquency, corrections and re-habilitation, drugs and organized crimes, and cybercrime.
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden (www.rwi.lu.se), is an academic institution established to promote research, training and academic-education in the field of international human rights law and related areas.
International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council of the U.N. Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program (ISPAC). The tasks of ISPAC in Milan. Italy (http://ispac.cnpds.org/), are to channel professional and scientific input to the U.N. and provide a capacity for the transfer of knowledge and exchange of information in crime prevention and criminal justice. It draws on the contributions of nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions and other relevant entities, as well as individual experts.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS). The ISS in Pretoria, South Africa (www.iss.org.za), is a regional research institute operating across sub-Saharan Africa, staffed by more than 60 full-time employees representing a broad political spectrum from six African countries.
College for Criminal Law Sciences (CCLS). CCLS of Beijing Normal University was established in 2005 to promote the further development of criminal law science in the People's Republic of China (http://www.criminal lawbnu.ch/english). CCLS is establishing seven subinstitutes covering all branches of criminal law science, several special institutes enabling the integration of all branches, organizing a high-quality academic team and seeking development in a scientific, innovative and strategic way.
Listed below are international organizations with interest in and information on corrections:.
Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture--www.cpt.coe.int/en/;.
Human Rights Information and Documentation Sys-tem--www.huridocs.org;.
Human Rights Watch--www.hrw.org;.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights--www.cidh.oas.org;.
International Bar Association--www.ibanet.org;.
International Commission of Jurists--www.icj.org;.
International Committee of the Red Cross--www.icrc.org;.
Open Society Foundations--www.soros.org;.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe--www.osce.org; and.
Penal Reform International--www.penalreform.org..
Gary Hill is president of CEGA Services Inc., and an international consultant in crime prevention, criminal justice and corrections.