UN Welcomes U.S. Decision to Release 6,000 Prisoners

Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Victoria Hazou
Photo: UN/MINUSTAH/Victoria Hazou

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Wednesday the decision by the United States Government to release 6,000 inmates from federal penitentiaries.

It is an effort to ease overcrowding in prisons and provide a degree of redress for persons who received disproportionately long sentences for non-violent drug-related offences.

“In order to address over-incarceration and overcrowding and their human rights implications, some States should develop and implement alternatives to custodial measures, and review penal policies and legislation to ensure proportionate sentencing,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York.

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“He also welcomes proposals that aim to consider early release of additional prisoners who are serving sentences disproportionate to their crimes, many of which are drug-related,” the statement further noted.

The Secretary-General also noted that States should only apply deprivation of liberty as a measure of last resort and only after alternatives have been duly considered.

“Consideration needs to be given to alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs, with an increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care,” he added in the statement.

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Rakesh Raman