Date of the report

Security, order, and discipline

Security functions are fulfilled by

the penitentiary administration

The prison estate has penal institutions, units or cells that use high-security measures

yes

Inmates classified as "N" are considered particularly dangerous by the administration. They may be placed in high security districts. In March 2017, 114 detainees were classified as "N"1.

Video surveillance can be used inside the cell 24 hours a day. The cell may be searched, even in the absence of the inmate. A strip search is conducted each time the prisoner leaves or returns to his cell. Strip searches are carried out by persons of the same sex. “N” status prisoners are not allowed to wear their own clothes.

The CPT reports an obstruction of the cell's windows of the high security district in the prisons of Bydgoszcz and Lublin.

“N” status prisoners cannot participate in cultural, educational and sports activities. They are not either allowed to read books or the press. They cannot participate in religious meetings or work, unless the facilities required are available in the district where the inmate is placed, in which way he does not have to leave the high security area.

“N” status prisoners can practice one hour of physical exercise a day. They can go to a common room (which is equipped with tennis table, DVD players, apartment bicycles) on a limited extend:

  • Four times a week in the Lublin prison
  • Two times a week in the Warsaw-Mokotów prison
  • No access in Bydgoszcz Prison They are allowed to take a shower once a week. Some “N” status prisoners are handcuffed when they leave their cell.

  1. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, ”Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty”, 2017, p.15. 

Prisoners are classified according to their supposed level of dangerousness

yes

Inmates are classified according to their supposed level of dangerousness. ‘High-risk’ prisoners should be identified by assessing their character, the risks posed by their personal traits and their former behaviour in a penitentiary setting. In practice, authorities classify prisoners as dangerous based on the legal classification of their offence.

The identification of an inmate as dangerous do not impact on the re-socialisation regime.

The number of inmates classified as high-risk is decreasing: 184 prisoners were classified as such in 2015; they were 70 fewer in March 20171.


  1. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, “Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty”, 2017, p.15. 

Body search procedure follows the Regulation on methods to protect penitentiary units and the Penal Executive Code.

Inmates are subjected to a superficial search before leaving the cell and returning to it and before leaving the workplace and returning to it (§ 70 of the Regulation on methods to protect penitentiary units).

Prison officers are authorized to carry out strips searches.

Prison officers must wear, in a visible form, a badge indicating their identity when performing searches.

The Minister of Justice's regulation of the 17 October 2016 prohibits the practice of body cavity search by prison officers.

“N” status prisoners are subjected to a body search before leaving the cell ad returning to it (art. 88b-1 Penal Executive Code).

All the searches are recorded in a register

  • electronic devices
  • pat-downs

Body cavity searches are conducted by a doctor

electronic devices

In accordance with the Act on coercive measures, handcuffs and shackles might be used for movement inside the prison; e.g. to protect internal order and security. Shackles might be used against aggressive inmates (art. 15).

Security staff carry

non-lethal weapons

The use of the non-lethal weapons is particularly constrained. They are thus authorized at the guardhouse level, at the entrance and in areas devoted to the security of the establishment.

The Commissioner for Human Rights received a considerable amount of complaints regarding cell searches. Inmates complain that a mess is left after cells are searched: their things are mixed up, food and personal objects are thrown to the floor.

Number of jailbreaks

246

In 2017, 255 prisoners participated in the 246 escapes. All escapes occurred in the workplaces outside the prison facilities.

i
2017

Protest movements were recorded in the last year

no

Disciplinary offences are investigated

yes

The imposition of a disciplinary sanction is subject to adversarial debate

yes

Disciplinary sanctions should be subject to contradictory debate.

In reality, prisoners are not systematically heard before imposing a disciplinary sanction. They do not systematically receive a copy of the disciplinary decision1.


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, “Report to the Polish Government on the visit to Poland from 11 to 22 May 2017”, 2018, p.40. 

Prisoners have the right to a lawyer

no

Inmates are not assisted by a lawyer when a disciplinary sanction is reviewed by the prison warden.

Prisoners can appeal against an abusive sanction

yes

A detainee can appeal a prison court to challenge a sanction, but these remedies are usually ineffective.

Disciplinary sanctions can be collective

no

Solitary confinement can be used as

punishment

Solitary confinement is still broadly imposed. It was used 23 times, from January to May 2017, in Warsaw-Bialoleka Remand Prison (up to 14 days). It was also used 22 times from January to May 2017 in Warsaw-Sluzewiec Remand Prison (up to 28 days) 1.


  1. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, “Report to the Polish Government on the visit to Poland from 11 to 22 May 2017”, 2018, p.40. 

Deciding if prisoners are put in solitary confinement is done by/at

the prison governor

The implementation of solitary confinement must also be approved by a doctor. The CPT notes that this condition has a negative impact on the doctor-patient relationship and is unethical[^cpt3].

This decision is subject to adversarial debate.


There is a limit to the duration of solitary confinement

yes, 28 days

The legally period of 28 days is considered to be excessive by the CPT. This limit of duration is respected in practice.

Inmates in solitary confinement can ask for a re-examination of their situation.

Solitary confinement period can be renewed

no

Solitary confinement cells are equipped with basic items (bed, table, chair). Windows are secured with additional grating. Very often, toilets are not separated from the rest of the cell. Usually they are in worst conditions than regular living cell.

Prisoners in solitary confinement are entitled to a daily hour outside their cell in a courtyard.

In accordance with the article 143-3 of the Penal Executive Code, prisoners in solitary confinement cannot participate in cultural and educational activities.

Family ties are not maintained when a prisoner is in solitary confinement. In accordance with the article 143-3 of the Penal Executive Code, prisoners in solitary confinement cannot receive visits. The right for phone calls is also removed.