Prison Insider is a digital platform.
It aims to spread information about detention conditions and uphold the rights and dignity of those deprived of their freedom all over the world.
This international platform will provide resources and facilitate knowledge sharing about prisons systems. The Prison Insider platform will be launched in spring 2016. At the beginning, it will be in three languages: French, English and Spanish.
Prison Insider is an advocacy website.
It advocates a world with less prisons, where sentences do not necessarily translate to deprivation of freedom and where restorative objectives are designed; a world where cruel, inhuman and degrading practices are reported, where human rights are deep-seated and non-negotiable; a world in which we ourselves are unable to live with dignity in the knowledge that others do not.
Our weapon is peaceful. Our weapon is information.
More than 10 million* people are currently imprisoned around the world.
As you are reading this, there are prisoners being held in despicable facilities, under harsh conditions.
There are prisoners crammed into cells where they must stand in order to let others lie down.
* Source: World Prison Trends 2015 - PRI
Others can be held in solitary confinement for years. It happens right here, at home.
The initial group of 20 founders of Prison Insider has now grown to 50 people. Soon, there will be a thousand. We are perfecting our peaceful weapon, a weapon that will help prisoners around the world to live in dignity. Together, we can achieve our goal.
Prison Insider is not aiming to reinvent the wheel. Information about prisons is available, but it is scattered, and sometimes impossible to find.
Whether you are a citizen, a lawyer, a social worker, a journalist, an activist, a researcher, a relative of someone imprisoned, or anyone else, Prison Insider will bring everyone together to provide a centralised source of factual, detailed and up to date information.
A common story that could be yours tomorrow…
My brother, an employee in a firm in Madagascar, celebrates with a group of friends the return of one of their colleagues to the country. During the evening, a local employee falls from the terrace and dies. The police take everyone into custody and the victim’s family accuses the group of being responsible for the fall. They are all arrested.
Three types of issues come to my mind:
- How can I visit my brother? How can I send money to him? What can I bring him? What are his rights? How can I find him a lawyer? From which local organisations can I seek support? How can I contact other people in my situation?
I need information and I need to ask questions via a forum.
- What are prisons like in Madagascar and what is life there like? Are the prison dangerous? Do people get fed properly? Do they receive adequate medical care ? How many prisoners are kept in each cell? Is the death penalty still enforced? To what extent are detention conditions different than in my country ? Do the media publish freely? Are images available to help me understand the conditions? Are academic studies available?
I need background information.
- How can I report on or talk about my brother's situation or my situation? How can I raise awareness about a specific case? How can I help those who are in a similar situation to me?
I need a platform to act.
Getting information, sharing viewpoints and taking action is what Prison Insider does.
Prison Insider will offer two types of access:
- Free access to all resources about the user’s own country (annual report, image database, latest testimonies and news), to the discussion forum, to the “In case of arrest” section of all countries and to information about campaigns and gatherings.
- Subscription access (30 € / year for individuals and 300 € / year for institutions) to all resources about all countries, to journalist investigations and reports, to the comparison tool and to the media library.
Prison Insider is building a network of correspondents that will provide information on the conditions of detention in all countries. Our mission is to come together and find a common language.
There are many reasons to stand up and take action: solidarity, faith, subversion, experience, friendship, compassion, fraternity and thirst for justice.
Who are we?
A great team of outstanding volunteers...
The co-founders : Florence Alligier, Julie André, Romain Balcerak, Alexandre Belkowski, Bernard Bolze, Aurélie Chastel, Alexandre Delavay, Emilie Deudon, Nathalie Fudge, Marc Giouse, Clara Grisot, Marie Hanotte, Eric Jayat, Judith Le Mauff, Milena Le Saux-Mattes, Sylvain Lhuissier, Robert Ohayon, Temur Sharopov, Julien Villalard...
and the new ones: Pome Bernos, Daniel Bouy, Marie Bellon, Philippe Brochet, Lorena Espinosa Barry, Jean-Marc Grefferat, Christelle Palluel, Patrick Remacle...
Some twenty people, web specialists, journalists, former inmates, social workers, activists, legal experts, lawyers, translators, and volunteers from various communities co-founded this project aiming to promote freedom and fundamental rights.
Prison Insider was the idea of jounalist Bernard Bolze, who founded the International Prison Observatory (OIP) in 1990. The Observatory carried out different operations and produced information on imprisonment. Bernard then worked for 3 years as part of the team for General Inspection of Deprivation of Freedom (the French national mechanism of prevention) which aims to protect the basic human rights of prisonners. For 6 years (1993-1998) the OIP published annual reports describing various prison conditions in a large number of countries. Nothing like it has been produced since. Prison Insider is a continuiation of this work.
Two other persons are working fulltime on Prison Insider
International network coordinator
She used to work for many years as legal adviser for foreigners.
She used to work for many years as co-director of a association for the reinsertion of detainees.
Prison Insider is supported by public figures.
Eric Sottas, founder and General Secretary of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMTC / Geneva) from 1985 to 2010 is one of them.
Reza, photojournalist, is another one of them:
“Being arrested at the age of 22 and imprisoned for 3 years in Iranian prisons, and being tortured for 5 years, either destroys you or makes you stronger. These years have brought me one dream: that of a world without prisons like the ones we know. I have traveled to over a hundred countries as a journalist, and I have had the opportunity to observe attempts in all these countries to set up alternative responses to repressive imprisonment and life behind bars with no other option. While it may bring relief to the victims and protect society, I believe the system of punishment and imprisonment of a human being in a prison enhances the reasons that prompted them to commit the crime they are being punished for. Psychologically, prison as we understand it is an aggregate of possible violence, barely held behind bars and barbed wire. I wonder how to break this circle of violence for the sake of society and for individual well-being. (…)”