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by The Township of Junitaki-cho. . 35 reads.

Information for Voters: Fair Treatment of Prisoners

Fair Treatment of Prisoners
Information for Voters

Summary

Fair Treatment of Prisoners is a series of mandates on the minimum acceptable threshold for quality of life in prisons. It was written as a replacement for International Criminal Protocol (ICP), which was repealed a couple of days ago.

Fair Treatment of Prisoners (its friends call it FToP) addresses three main areas of concern: baseline treatment, isolated confinement, and prison labour. Clause 2(a) sets the minimum standard of care to be no lesser than that afforded to prisoners of war. If this sounds a bit minimal, don't worry - these standards are currently laid out by longstanding resolution GAR#18: The Prisoners of War Accord. Clause 2(d) limits the use of protective confinement - that is, mostly or entirely isolating an inmate from the population - to only be permitted when it prevents imminent risk to the population, the prisoner is incapacitated, or the prisoner voluntarily consents, and clauses 3(a-c) provide further rights to confined prisoners. Clauses 2(b), 2(c), 2(e), and 3(d) all concern labour. Forcing or coercing prisoners into performing labour is prohibited, though they may voluntarily choose to work, and any work they perform must be compensated at the fair market rate.

Analysis

So to reiterate, this is meant as a partial replacement for the now-repealed ICP. With that in mind, you should know the author of ICP has resubmitted that proposal, almost verbatim, in the hopes that it will be reinstated. It went through very little drafting, and given that we just repealed it, putting it back in place seems pretty dumb.

But how does FToP stack up? Well, it covers the main points, all in a more streamlined way: inhumane conditions were cut down to the prisoner of war standard, the various types of confinement were simplified, and its ban on forced labour, though previously enshrined in GAR#23: Ban on Slavery and Trafficking, has been expanded to cover some new ground. These implementations, as elaborated above, seem pretty fair and set a reasonable standard of care within prisons, especially considering extant legislation which also applies to them. It does hinge on resolutions like GAR#18, but it's unlikely something like that would be repealed except to strengthen it, so I don't foresee it being overly dependent.

What's not there is capital punishment. A lot of ICP dealt with when and how capital punishment could be handed down to inmates, and that's simply not present here. The reason for this is that the author, who also wrote the ICP repeal, supports a full death penalty ban which is currently up for approval. The repeal was always meant to result in two new referenda: one restoring the protections for prisoners, and another addressing the death penalty head-on.

What does this mean for you? In part, it comes back to the death penalty. FToP does nothing to restrict or even address its use, but if you're in favour of capital punishment, you'd probably prefer to see ICP reinstated. Here's the thing: ICP's prisoner protections are much sloppier. It's clear that its resubmission was primarily meant to provide a "blocker" for the death penalty - a clause which would prevent further restrictive legislation from being passed - and that the remainder of its text is more incidental than anything. It's also clear, at the time of writing, that even if ICP reaches quorum, it will not come to a vote before the Death Penalty Ban, and if that passes, ICP would become illegal. There's really no world in which you can turn down FToP and feel assured you'll have a chance to confirm your preferred solution. Given these circumstances, and the fact that FToP makes no provisions about capital punishment, I don't see a good reason to oppose it on these grounds.

The other considerations are prisoners' rights. It's commonly accepted in developed nations that incarceration is about reform rather than punishment, and the administration of severe or brutal treatment does little to reinforce positive behavior in the populace. For this reason, standards and regulations are crucial in ensuring prisons operate on these grounds. If you agree with this but feel this doesn't go far enough, there's room for further expansion in most areas of this proposal, though things like the right to perform paid work will be immutably enshrined in law. This is very much one of those cases where you take what you can get and look at building on it down the road. If you disagree with the notion that prisoners deserve human rights, I'd encourage you to do some research on real-world Scandinavian nations' recrimination rates, but I'm not going to be able to do much more to convince you here.

Recommendation

Given the solid foundation for the protection of prisoners' rights, the tight, focused nature of the legislation at hand, and the author's diligent work in revising this proposal into a suitable body of law, the Refugia Councillor of World Assembly Affairs recommends voting for Fair Treatment of Prisoners.

The Township of Junitaki-cho

Edited:

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