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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Advancing Human Rights through International Prison Reform

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 2:30pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the issue of  international prison reform.

Nelson Mandela once stated that “no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” And yet there is mounting evidence that we are currently experiencing a “global prison crisis.” Prisoners throughout the world often face routine abuse such as torture, the threat of violence from other prisoners, lack of food and health services, lack of contact with family, and extended pre-trial detention which can expose even those eventually found not guilty to long-term incarceration. These problems often entail the violation of basic human rights, may contribute to recidivism, and disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including children.

In this hearing, witnesses will discuss the problems facing prisons around the world, examine the situation for female and juvenile offenders, and offer hope through examples of successful reform initiatives as well as effective alternatives to prison.

This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via YouTube on the Commission website, and will also be available for viewing on House Digital Channel 52. For any questions, please contact Matthew Singer (for Mr. Hultgren) at 202-226-3989 or or Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Philipp Meissner, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
    Written testimony
  • Hilary Anderson, Senior Specialist, Inter-American Commission of Women, Organization of American States
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Craig DeRoche, Senior Vice President for Advocacy & Public Policy, Prison Fellowship
    Written testimony
  • Azamat Shambilov, Regional Director, Office for Central Asia, Penal Reform International (from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, live via video)
    Written testimony





115th Congress