More than 40 public-security staff and officers working with female prisoners in northern Vietnam on December 3 began a three-day training programme on the treatment of women in prison and on offering non-custodial measures (the so-called Bangkok Rules) for some.

The workshop, which is organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) and Ministry of Public Security, is the first step in activities to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice institutes.

"In the course of this training workshop, we will examine the Bangkok Rules to increase understanding of international standards," UNDOC official Piera Barzano said.

This event is a real opportunity to actively discuss how to integrate women's human rights into prison management activities, she added.

Barzano said she highly appreciates the cooperation between the Ministry of Public Security and UNODC in HIV prevention, treatment and care in prisons, overcoming gender-based violence, fighting corruption, countering cyber crime and fighting human trafficking.

Barzano said UNODC will support the ministry in implementing existing projects and developing new ones relating to the fight against terrorism, corruption, money laundering and environmental and hi-tech crimes.

Nguyen Van Ninh, Deputy Director General of the Department for Making Criminal Judgments, said Vietnam has progressed in the implementation of prison reform and the ministry has worked with the Vietnam Women's Union to enhance the capacity of prison staff in handling female prisoners.

Ninh added that women have different needs when they are imprisoned. This includes pre and post-natal care and hygiene needs and an understanding that they are primary caregivers.

The Bangkok Rules, supplementing the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, 1955, was approved by the UN General Assembly in 2010.

It addresses the range of needs specific to female prisoners, detainees and those subject to non-custodial security measures.