The International Centre for Prison Studies was founded in 1997 for the purposes of conducting research on prisons and imprisonment; developing and disseminating knowledge about how imprisonment should be used; and contributing to improved policy and practice in prisons across the world.
The work of the Centre includes the production of the prisons handbook, A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, and the development of the World Prison Brief database. The Centre also carries out work on a project or consultancy basis for international agencies, governmental and non-governmental organisations.
In November 2014, the Centre merged with the Institute for Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck, University of London. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research provides a home within which the Centre’s work on the World Prison Brief and other research and project-based activities will continue to grow and develop.