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Communicating the Nelson Mandela Rules

Penal Reform | The Nelson Mandela Rules


The number of people imprisoned around the world is on the rise.  Which is why it’s so important to tackle issues like maltreatment, overcrowding and the spread of disease in prisons. The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners  were created by the UN in 1955 and haven’t been changed since. It’s no wonder that Penal Reform International, an NGO working to reform prisons worldwide, wanted to communicate the importance of the Nelson Mandela Rules, a much needed update.


The Nelson Mandela rules were launched at a summit hosted by the UN. We worked closely with Penal Reform International to help explain key changes to the Rules in an accessible and engaging way through a short animation. The treatment of prisoners around the world is a serious issue that we couldn’t portray lightly. But at the same time we didn’t want to overwhelm viewers with harrowing scenes of the maltreatment of prisoners. So we focussed on creating a pensive aesthetic, combined with an evocative soundscape to leave much to the imagination of the viewer.


The animation was screened to a high profile UN event and several other events around the world, helping to highlight the importance of the Nelson Mandela Rules. The animation was also used by Penal Reform International as a communications tool on their website and to broaden the reach of the message through their social media channels.

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