01.09.2006 | Iryna Yaroshynska

Tuberculosis and overcrowding in holding facilities and penal institutions


Another scandal has broken out in Ukraine – 15 prisoners serving their sentence in a Rivne region penal institution slashed their wrists. Journalists have not been allowed into the colony, and the Deputy Head of the State Department for the Execution of Punishments that it was all “manipulation”, since they had not actually cut their vein, but only made scratches.  And three repeat offenders serving 15 years for murder had organized all of this.

This is the latest scandal this year after the Kharkiv SIZO [pre-trial remand centre] and the Lviv Colony (where a prisoner sewed his lips together).  They say that this will continue if 50 – 100 convicted prisoners are held in one cell, and when those with more authority t have influence over the others.

Recently the Vinnytsa regional prosecutor’s office carried out a check and discovered significant infringements of legislation and international norms on holding people in temporary holding facilities (ITT), rooms for detained individuals in police stations, in the MIA centre for the reception and distribution of vagrants, the pre-trial detention centre (SIZO) and penal colonies of the division of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences. 

– Internal Affairs agencies are not fully satisfying the requirements of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the CPT), Deputy Prosecutor Gennady Vyvdych  stated.  –  Infringements were found in almost all institutions. In rooms for detained individuals in police stations there were cases where those suspected of committing crimes were held together with people suspected of committing administrative offences. In the SIZO there were numerous incidents where minors were held in cells together with adults, or where people without previous convictions were together with people who had already been convicted, or even with repeat offenders which is a flagrant violation of the law.

In a number of cases, people had been held in temporary holding facilities (ITT) for more than a month instead of the legally stipulated time limits of 3 or 10 days.  It had been found that they were not always

informed of their rights and allowed visits.  There was an ever greater number of cases where relatives of people detained were not  informed where the person was being held.  Those detained were not always provided with the conditions needed for normal existence, were not taken out for walks, were sometimes not given bed linen, and in a few cases not even a mattress.

Instances have been recorded when, despite cells being vacant, 3 people were held in a cell intended for two

On the part of the police and the State Department for the Execution of Sentences many infringements had been found of legislation on detaining people ill with tuberculosis. These people are not taken for treatment which creates conditions for the swift spread of this serious illness. In the Vinnytsa tuberculosis unit for treating people detained and remand prisoners, 2 wards, functioning since 2004, are assigned for people with tuberculosis, yet by the beginning of 2006, patients were not been sent there. This despite the fact that in  2005 in ITT under the Ministry of Internal Affairs 89 people with tuberculosis were being held, with have having an active form of the disease. In the current year such treatment has begun, but not all those in need are being treated, with only 21 with active forms of tuberculosis, only 10 having been provided with treatment. In the SIZO of the Vinnytsa penal colony No. 1, not all those remanded in custody are provided with the norm for space per inmate, not less than 2.5. In the Mohyliv-Podilsk corrective colony, each prisoner has 1.7 square metres where the norm is 3 square metres.

As a result of infringements of general and industrial safety regulations, and the lack of adequate control by the administration of corrective colonies, last year there were 9 accidents involving prisoners, including one which proved fatal. This year there have already been 6 accidents. The rights of prisoners in colonies and the interests of the state in involving them in work are seriously infringed. Due to this the prisoners do not compensate the expenses incurred as a result of their crime, and are unable where needed to pay alimony. At present, of nearly 5 thousand able-bodied convicted individuals only around 1.5 thousand have been found work.  There are more than 6 thousand people presently in places of deprivation of liberty.

Based on material from the press service of the Vinnytsa Region Prosecutor’s Office

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