Last week saw the welcome passage of a landmark resolution at the recent Vienna Crime Congress endorsing the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). The revised standards will be known as the “Mandela Rules” in honor of the legacy of the late South African President. As the primary international standards relating to treatment in detention, the updated Rules expressly emphasize the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and the fact that prisoners must be protected from such practices and treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. The Rules also impose substantial limitations on the use of prolonged and prolonged solitary solitary confinement. In a statement prior to the start of the Vienna Crime Congress, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez called for the adoption of the Mandela Rules, saying that their adoption and prospective implementation “reinforces human rights principles and provides greater protection for persons deprived of their liberty, updated procedural safeguards, and more effective guidance to national prison administrations.” To learn more about the Special Rapporteur and the ATI’s involvement in the SMR revision process, visit our page dedicated to this topic.