In the period from December 2019 to October 2020, the NPM conducted visits to institutions for the enforcement of penal sanctions with the aim of monitoring the treatment of addicts on psychoactive substances. In this regard, a sample of 5 penal-correctional institutions (PCI Sremska Mitrovica, PCI Belgrade, PCI Pancevo, PCI Nis, PCI Pozarevac) and 5 district prisons (DP Cacak, DP Kraljevo, DP Novi Sad, DP Smederevo, DP Belgrade) was selected. The problem was observed from three aspects: safety, treatment and health, with the intention to check which activities the institutions are undertaking in order to detect and prevent the intake of psychoactive substances, whether there are programs in the institutions specialized for working with convicts who have a problem with psychoactive substance addiction, which programs are implemented, which therapies are offered, whether the staff is trained to implement treatment or treatment programs, what measures are taken with the aim of reducing the demand and availability, preventing and reducing harmful consequences.

The Thematic Report prepared after the visits highlighted the good practices observed in the visited institutions and also gave recommendations for improving the situation in this area, bearing in mind that addicts are a special group within the prison population that requires a specialized approach.

In its response regarding the implementation of the given recommendations, the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions informed the NPM, among other things, that the Draft of the New Strategy for the Development of the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions for the period 2021-2027 envisages improvement of security in institutions and procurement and upgrading of counter-diversion protection systems, with special emphasis on the new analyzes of the content systems being reviewed. Also, the Administration will continue working on the employment of members of the security service and educational workers in the institutions, and all institutions were ordered to take the necessary measures to hire a psychiatrist or a neuropsychiatrist, to provide their services in the institution, where the implementation of this recommendation will be controlled by the Inspection Department.

The NPM was also informed that within the project of the Council of Europe, financed by the European Union, new specialized programs for group work with convicts have been developed, among them the Specialized program for group work with drug addicts, which has been distributed to all institutions.

The Administration submitted the recommendation of the NPM to create conditions for the realization of individual goals set for convicts in all institutions, to the Inspection Department, in order to, when performing supervision, control whether individual goals and planned procedures and activities and tasks of the staff in the implementation of the treatment program are realistically set, in relation to the possibilities of the institution and whether they are carried out according to plan.

The Administration also informed the NPM that it will take measures to find the best solution for making contact and cooperation with the competent centers for addictions, which have the staff trained for the introduction of substitution therapy, in order to assess the indications for the introduction of this therapy to persons who have not started treatment for addiction when they were free.

On 22 December 2020, at the meeting of the NPM Network of countries of Southeast Europe, in its capacity as the chair of the Medical Group of the Network, the NPM presented the basic findings from this report.

Download this file (Report.pdf)Thematic Report

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_KPZ_Pozarevac.jpgOn 1 April 2021, the Protector of Citizens’ team in performing the NPM tasks, led by the Deputy Protector of Citizens, Ms. Nataša Tanjević PhD, visited the Penal-Correctional Institution for Women in Požarevac. Aside from the Protector of Citizens’ employees, a representative of the Victimology Society of Serbia and a doctor specialized in forensic medicine joined the team.

Bearing in mind that 21 December last year marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders known as the Bangkok Rules, as well as the fact that on 8 March on the International Women's Day, the NPM of Serbia, for the first time, together with the Association for the Prevention of Torture and a number of monitoring bodies from around the world, called on state authorities to continuous action to protect women in prison, the NPM monitored compliance with Bangkok rules during the course of the visit.

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_KPZ_POzarevac_1.jpgThe NPM team visited the accommodation facilities in the Institution, the newly built facility, the economy, the part of the Institution where women prisoners with children are accommodated and gained insight into the relevant documentation in the General Affairs Service, Health care Service, Treatment Service and Security Service. In addition, interviews were conducted with the management of the Institution and the heads of the line services, as well as with several prisoners. Special attention has been paid to the manner of exercising health care for women prisoners, as well as the position of pregnant women and women prisoners who stay with children in the Institution.

The professional conduct of the management and all employees in the Institution during the NPM’s visit is an example of good practice, pursuant to legally prescribed obligation for authorities to cooperate with the NPM.

Yesterday, National Preventive Mechanism paid visits to the District Prison and the Police Administration in Novi Sad.

During the visit to the District Prison, National Preventive Mechanism paid attention to the issue of psychoactive substances presence in the institution and the measures taken by the institution in that regard. So, the National Preventive Mechanism interviewed employees in the services for security, treatment and health care.

In addition, the National Preventive Mechanism team interviewed the detainees regarding the police conduct during the exercise of police powers.

The National Preventive Mechanism also visited two police outposts within Novi Sad Police Administration where the NPM monitored whether they complied with the Recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and interviewed the detainees regarding police officers’ conduct during deprivation of liberty.

Today, the National Preventive Mechanism visited the District Prison (DP) and the Police Department in Smederevo.

The visit to DP Smederevo was aimed at controlling the presence of psychoactive substances in the institution and the response of the institution to that, which continued the activity started towards the end of the previous year. The NPM conducted interviews with security, treatment and health care services, as well as with several persons deprived of liberty. In addition, during the interviews with the recently detained persons, NPM representatives examined how the police treated them during their deprivation of liberty.

During a visit to the Smederevo Police Department, the NPM monitored the adherence of the Police Department to CPT's Recommendations, the use of coercive measures, investigated existing complaints, the manner of questioning, handling the confiscated items, conditions in holding facilities and conduct towards detained citizens.

Yesterday, the National Preventive Mechanism visited the Adaševci Reception Center, in order to monitor the situation and conditions in the center, the treatment of migrants and the measures taken to contain the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The NPM visited accommodation facilities (one solid facility - the building of the former hotel, as well as tents set up to admit migrants brought shortly before the state of emergency), infirmary, canteen, laundry, dining room, and special attention was paid to the conditions for maintaining personal hygiene. During the visit, the migrants were interviewed and the records of recent extraordinary developments were reviewed.

The cooperation of the employees was good and the representatives of the NPM were enabled to fulfill their mandate.