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.