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Reports

Acting on the recommendation of the NPM to provide 24-hour presence of the medical staff at the Penal-Correctional Facility in Niš, the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions informed the NPM that it had requested the consent of the RS Government Commission for additional involvement of medical personnel. Also, the development of winter uniforms for members of the Security Service is underway.

With the aim of improving the existing material conditions for persons deprived of their liberty, the Institution continued with the replacement of the remaining old mattresses with new ones, and by the end of the year, all premises where the persons deprived of their liberty are staying will be painted. In order to enable time orientation in the premises in which these persons reside, the Institution provided clocks for facilities for the detention of persons according to the Criminal Procedure Code. As for the recommendation related to providing the 4 square meters of living space for persons deprived of their liberty, the Institution stated in its statement that it is currently unable to act on that recommendation, since the number of accommodated persons exceeds the accommodation capacities of the Institution, but also because the architectural structures of certain facilities do not provide the opportunity to restructure the premises.

On 8 May 2019, the Protector of Citizens, under the mandate of the NPM, made a fourth visit to the Penal-Correctional Facility in Niš, in order to monitor the implementation of recommendations made earlier. Following the visit, a report was drafted with new recommendations for improving the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.

After two visits of the National Preventive Mechanism to the Penal-Correctional Facility in Sremska Mitrovica and after submitting the report and recommendations to the competent authorities, the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions informed the NPM in its response that it had drafted instructions or protocols with standard operating procedures related to the functioning of health services in the institutions, that include the report forms on the application of coercive measures and a body chart for recording injuries, as their integral part. The instructions shall be distributed to all institutes as soon as possible.

The NPM expects that the introduction of these forms will solve the long-standing problem of inadequate reports drawn up by health care services in institutions when implementing coercive measures.

The Penal-Correctional Facility in Sremska Mitrovica will also employ 24 new members of the Security Service, which will, to some extent, alleviate the chronic shortage of members of that Service. This shortcoming was also noted in the previous report, which stated that there were only two commanders in every shift per 125 persons deprived of their liberty in the admissions department.

In its report on the visits to the Penal-Correctional Facility in Sremska Mitrovica, conducted in February and April of 2019, the NPM stated that during its first, unannounced visit, team members checked the use of video surveillance, enforcement of coercive measures and conditions in the admissions department, since during the previous visits, certain problems were recorded regarding these issues. The second visit was announced and focused solely on checking whether the persons who spoke to the NPM representatives during the first visit suffered some consequences and it was determined that they did not.

The cooperation of the management and the employees of the Penal-Correctional Facility in Sremska Mitrovica during both visits was good and the representatives of the NPM team were allowed to fully exercise their competence.
During the first visit, the NPM also visited the animal shelter, since a unique project called „Accept for a new life“ is being implemented at the Penal-Correctional Facility in Sremska Mitrovica. This penal-correctional facility is one of three in Europe to carry out a program of re-socialization of convicts with the help of dogs, and is the only one to have a shelter for stray dogs.

The reports of the Security Service on the enforcement of coercive measures and the internal procedure for accessing and isolating video surveillance footage were assessed by the NPM in its report as examples of good practice. However, it was also found that the measures taken after the 2017 visit did not sufficiently and systematically contribute to a lasting solution to the problem of overcrowding in the admissions department.

The Kragujevac Police Department and the police stations Batocina and Lapovo within it, have fully followed the recommendations of the National Preventive Mechanism, which were sent to them after a visit in January 2019.

In the Report on the visit to the Kragujevac Police Department, the NPM stated that during the visit, the NPM team members first visited the police headquarters, where they visited the premises for the accommodation of detained citizens, interviewed police officers and inspected the detention records. On the same day, the NPM visited the police stations in Batocina and Lapovo, where they talked to the heads of the stations and visited the premises for the accommodation of detained citizens and also received the requested documentation. Police officers cooperated with the NPM team during the visit, provided them with the requested information, and enabled them to tour the premises and inspect the documentation.

Based on the established facts, the NPM sent a recommendation to the Kragujevac Police Department and the police stations within it, to provide the persons detained under the Criminal Procedure Code, together with the detention notice, a written notice containing all the rights set out in the Criminal Procedure Code, which was fully complied with. Also, in accordance with the recommendation, the Lapovo police station provided the necessary artificial lighting in the detention room and reported to the Protector of Citizens about it.

Regarding the requested information on whether the plan of the Ministry of the Interior on the renovation of existing and construction of new detention facilities envisages the construction of another detention room in the Arandjelovac police station, the Kragujevac Police Department responded and informed the NPM that according to the plan of the MIA for the Kragujevac Police Department for 2019, construction of an additional detention room in the Police Station in Arandjelovac was not envisaged.

The NPM conducted a control visit to the Kragujevac Police Department on 29 January 2019, in order to monitor the recommendations sent to it in 2015. The visit was announced and foreseen by the 2019 visit plan.

The Psychiatry Clinic of the Clinical Center Kragujevac accepted the recommendations of the NPM from the visit Report of May 30, 2019 and undertook a series of activities to create a positive therapeutic environment – rooms were allowed decoration, paintings and decorative flower pots were placed in the hallways, places were made for a pause and a short break. New cabinets next to the patients' beds have been repaired or purchased.

In the response of the Clinical Center Kragujevac delivered to the NPM, the Psychiatry Clinic stated that it had introduced a book of records on the application of physical restraint in which all the required data were entered and undertook measures to systematically keep records and record data on the course of the disease, not only electronically, but also into the patient history form. Acting on the recommendations of the NPM, the Clinic also prepared a plan for the education of health technicians.

The NPM will continue to monitor the activities of the Psychiatry Clinic of the Clinical Center Kragujevac, especially with regard to the implementation of the recommendations made, which relate to the drafting of the analysis of existing needs for mental health services in the community and its submission to the Ministry of Health, as well as the development of psychosocial rehabilitation programs for all patients, by organizing group psychotherapy with patients from the same diagnostic categories and creating conditions for a smooth and safe stay of patients with a possibility to walk in fresh air.

Acting on the recommendation of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), the Sombor Penal-Correctional Institution, in cooperation with local self-government, initiated the construction of a new facility, in order to relocate the part of the Institution from an unsuitable facility located in the city centre. Until then, the Institution will maintain the existing premises in a functional state and, in accordance with the possibilities, provide the prisoners with the missing means necessary for staying in the Institution. As the NPM has been informed, in cooperation with the competent courts, the possibilities of working engagements of remand prisoners will be considered, and the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions provided funds for courses and trainings for convicted persons.

In order to harmonize practice with modern standards of treatment of persons deprived of their liberty, the new procedures introduced the possibility that the attorneys' visits take place without physical obstacles, that a detailed searches of the persons are carried out gradually and that the members of the Security Service do not carry truncheons in a visible way. In addition, a special injuries record has been established, funds have been provided for the procurement of medical instruments for wound healing and appropriate instructions were given to healthcare personnel about the detection and description of injuries.

The NPM team visited Sombor PCI on 5 and 6 December 2018. The Report was made on this visit, with 31 recommendations for removing the observed shortcomings and improving the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in this Institution.