MPs Warn About Prison Overcrowding

By 31 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 31, 2020 - During a parliamentary debate on the report on the work of prisons in 2018 on Thursday, members of parliament warned about prison overcrowding and poor prison conditions as well as poor working conditions of judicial police.

In the period covered by the report, 11,352 persons were imprisoned and the total prison capacity was 3,900 places. Of the total number of persons arrested in 2018, 4,119 were serving their terms, a drop of one percent from 2017, said the State Secretary at the Justice Ministry, Juro Martinović.

The report also shows a significant increase in the number of foreign nationals in the prison system of close to 73% compared to 2017.

"That is mostly due to the migrant crisis," said Martinović.

Vesna Pusić of the opposition GLAS party said that the figures in the report indicated overcrowding, notably in investigative custody facilities, with three prisoners sharing one place, she said.

Ante Babić of the ruling HDZ party wanted to know if it was true, as stated by the Ombudswoman, that some prisoners do not have access to health care services while illiterate prisoners cannot exercise the right to legal protection because they cannot write their requests.

"Individual omissions are possible but... as far as health care is concerned, I state responsibly that inmates undergo more medical check-ups than some groups that are outside the prison system," said Martinovic.

Stjepan Curaj of the HNS party said that electronic bracelets could help reduce prison overcrowding, and he proposed interviewing prison personnel and inmates on prison conditions.

MPs also warned about job vacancies in the prison system, with slightly more than 2,600 persons employed in 2018 and a total of 3,558 jobs available.

More news about prisons in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.