Rani Dhavan Shankardass is the Secretary General of Penal Reform and Justice Association (PRAJA), Gurgaon, India, and the President of Penal Reform International (PRI), London, UK. Born in Allahabad, Dr Shankardass was educated in Nainital, Lucknow and Allahabad. She received her M.A. degrees from Allahabad University, India, and University of Pennsylvania, USA, and M.Sc., M.Litt. and Ph.D. degrees from the Cambridge University and the University of London, both in UK. She has worked as a lecturer in Political Science at Kamla Nehru College, University of Delhi, India, and was a senior fellow at Centre for Contemporary Studies, Teen Murti House, New Delhi, India. She has been awarded the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Fellowship for her article 'Debt Bondage: The Survival of an Ancient Mechanism' and the Nehru Fellowship for 'Prison, Punishment and Criminal Justice'. Her published works include The First Congress Raj: Provincial Autonomy in Bombay (1982), Vallabhbhai Patel: Power and Organization in Indian Politics (1986) and Of Women Inside: Their Yesterdays Todays and Tomorrows 2011). She was also the editor and contributor to the book Punishment and the Prison: Indian and International Perspectives (2000) and the co-author of Barred from Life and Scarred for Life: The Experiences of Women in the Criminal Justice System in India (2004). She has been carrying out extensive research on penal reform in South Asia, as well as mental health and care of women in prisons and custodial justice.