Officially, the ‘Bangkok Rules’ is the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders, and the UN General Assembly adopted the rules in December 2010. They are relevant in transcending international issues relating to prison and incarceration communities that do not cater to women. The Bangkok Rules should always be read in conjunction with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (STMRTP). The Bangkok rules merely supplements them by providing foundational rules that facilitate to female prisoners to avoid bureaucratic discrimination.
According to the book “Using Participatory Action Research to put the Bangkok Rule into Practice, The Thai Prison Case Study”:
- Culturally women are abused both within the social world and within incarceration. Therefore, there treatment of women should be specialised.
- The Bangkok Rules are not linked to discrimination, but rather acknowledge particular needs that are linked to female gender physically, socially and culturally.
Consideration is given to issues such as:
- powerlessness to bargain or plea
- separation from children
- care for elderly family (parents) outside of prison
- health problems (reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases)
- the problem of pregnant women and giving birth in prison
- psychological conditions of prison which enforce stress, pressure, self-harm and suicide.