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10.07.2009

Damning audit of Penal Service

   

Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber has issued its report into the implementation of the State Programme for Improving the Conditions for Remand and Convicted Prisoners for 2006 – 2010 [the Programme] passed by the Government in 2006.

The Programme’s stated aim was to ensure that conditions are in line with domestic legislation and European standards. It was also supposed to provide for unconditional observance of people’s rights while deprived of their liberty, and for the stable functioning of all bodies within the State Penal Service.

The Accounting Chamber’s audit found that due to inefficient management by the Department for the Execution of Sentences [the Department], one tenth of the tasks set down for the period from 2006 to 2008 had been carried out.

The report also criticizes the Ministries of the Economy and of Finance for not providing cooperation on control and reporting on implementation of the Programme, formally summarizing the information provided by the Department without analyzing the real situation as regards implementation.

The Ministry of Justice had not given attention to bringing the normative base for the work of the Penal Service, including the Penal Inspectorate, into line with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Penitentiary Rules. At the same time Regional State Administrations have virtually distanced themselves from the process of implementation.

It was established that prisoners are not provided with living space in accordance with present norms. In no penal institution or SIZO [remand centre] did the conditions meet the requirements of legislation and European standards, as per documents which Ukraine has ratified.

Failure to comply with norms of legislation on construction resulted in a block, SIZO and two floors of a block for women in the Kyiv SIZO not being built, and the cost of the project almost doubled.

In places of confinement unconditional observance of human rights was not ensured. Most penal structures, healthcare institutions and educational institutions of the State Penal System function in conditions not fit for work.

The Accounting Chamber has concluded that there is an urgent need for a reform of the penal system. This must include: improvements to current penal legislation; a broadening of the list of alternatives to deprivation of liberty. This would ensure a reduction in the number of prisoners in penal institutions and would result in the lessoning of the financial burden on the State Budge, and an increase in the efficiency and utilization of public funding on conditions for prisoners.

From material posted on the Press Service of the Accounting Chamber  www.ac-rada.gov.ua

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