During February and March 2004 ICPS carried out an evaluation and training programme with the Prison Service on St Helena at the invitation of the St Helena Government and with funding from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
In the first phase of the project an ICPS Research Consultant visited the island and carried out an assessment of the island’s prison facilities and procedures against the benchmark of international human rights standards. Because of the island’s isolated location in the South Atlantic, with no air access, its small prison houses all categories of prisoners – men, women and juveniles, and both pre-trial and convicted. It also has to serve as the detention facility for the island’s police force.
As part of this first phase of the project the ICPS consultant also delivered a one-week training course in international human rights standards to all Prison Service staff. The main tool used for both the assessment and training was the handbook A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management. The St Helena Police Service is also responsible for police and prison facilities on Ascension Island and as part of the project the ICPS consultant carried out an assessment of the new prison on Ascension.
In the project’s second phase, the St Helena Prison Service’s Principal Officer visited the United Kingdom for a four week training programme organised by ICPS and kindly facilitated by HM Prison Service of England and Wales. During this programme she undertook placements at two contrasting English prisons and also attended a short course at the Prison Service’s Staff Training College.