International prison news highlights

The pretty entrance to Chiba Prison outside Tokyo is a stark contrast to the difficult conditions faced by inmates. (Photo: geocities.jp)

The pretty entrance to Chiba Prison outside Tokyo is a stark contrast to the difficult conditions faced by inmates. (Photo: geocities.jp)

Hard life for prisoners in Japan

The Economist goes inside Japan’s secretive prison system, where no riot has taken place since just after World War II and escapes, drugs and smuggling are rare. But inmates work without pay and are apparently not allowed to read books, look warders in the eye or talk except during meal times and break times. Read more.

 Prison conditions in France criticised

The inspector general of prisons in France has criticized poor detention conditions, including overcrowding and lack of hygiene. Prisoners apparently have to buy their own supplies to clean their cells. Read more and watch a news report on the situation.

 US inmates take to yoga as other prison wellness programmes cut

The New York Times reports that yoga programmes for prisoners are increasing in the US. Offered by volunteers, the programmes are cheap to run and appear to help inmates to cope with their stressful environment.  Read more.

 Religious rights of prisoners

A US federal court may force California’s prisons to hire chaplains to minister to followers of the Wicca religion. Read more.

 Number of inmates decline in Sweden

Contrary to expectations, the number of inmates in Sweden has declined following the introduction of tougher laws in 2010. Read more to find out why this is the case.

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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