The World Prison Brief is an online database providing free access to information on prison systems around the world. It is a unique resource, which supports evidence-based development of prison policy and practice globally.

The World Prison Brief is hosted by the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research (ICPR), at Birkbeck, University of London. It was launched in 2000 using data compiled by Roy Walmsley, Founder of the World Prison Brief.

ICPR hosts and updates the World Prison Brief as part of its World Prison Research Programme. This programme, which involves collaboration with research partners, civil society organisations and policy makers, aims to inform and promote debate and policy reform.

In addition to providing access to the World Prison Brief database, this website holds other publications by ICPR and its original host, the International Centre for Prison Studies (which merged with ICPR in 2014). These include the World Prison Population Lists, the handbook A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management, research project reports, International Prison News Digests, and regular Covid-19 news updates. See the International Prison Publications page.

The latest World Prison Population List, published in December 2021, reports that there may well be in excess of 11.5 million prisoners worldwide.

ICPR's latest prisons work

Ten-country prisons project: key research data along with expert insights on the causes and consequences of over-incarceration across five continents, available here

Latest international prison stories and COVID-19 resources available here

Some recent publications

World Prison Population List (13th edition) (December 2021, available here)

Keeping COVID out of prisons: Approaches from ten countries (May 2021, available here)

Locked in and locked down - prison life in a pandemic: Evidence from ten countries (May 2021, available here)

A Human Rights Approach to Prison Management: Handbook for Prison Staff (3rd edition, July 2018, available here)