Improving prison system statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean is essential to know how to treat people deprived of liberty with dignity and improve their reintegration

During the Eleventh meeting of the Statistical Conference of the Americas of ECLAC, held from November 23 to 25 in hybrid format, the proposal for the installation of a task force to identify institutional capabilities to produce statistics on Penitentiary Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean was examined and approved.

The generation of statistics in this area will make it possible to strengthen evidence-based public policies, as well as to report on the progress of the relevant indicators of Sustainable Development Goal 16, and to know the observance of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).

The proposal was submitted by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), which will coordinate the group and will have the INEGI-UNODC Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Public Security, Victimization and Justice as its Technical Secretariat. In addition, the national statistical offices of Colombia and the Dominican Republic, as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, expressed their interest in joining the task force.

The proposal will be part of the ECLAC Statistical Conference of the Americas’ 2022-2023 program of regional and international cooperation activities. The final results are expected to be presented in August 2023 and will feed into UNODC’s efforts to develop methodological guidelines for the production of statistics on prison systems at the global level.