Inmates can file complaints against the prison administration. The most common reasons for complaints are living conditions, ill-treatment, and health care. Complaints must include justification and must conform to administrative standards1. Complaints will not be examined if they:
- contain vulgar words or profanity, insults, or slang
- are based on recurring circumstances and events or that have already been the subject of a complaint
- are deemed to have insufficient motivation2
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, “Report on the Human Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty”, 2017, p. 17. ↩
The human rights commissioner (Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich) has received numerous complaints from inmates about hygiene conditions in prisons, and the absence of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The inmates have claimed that they lack toiletries, cleaning products and hot water. They have stated that it is impossible for them to observe social distancing in their cells, in the showers, in the canteen or in the exercise yard. Those inmates who are ill with possible Covid-19 symptoms have allegedly not been tested. The prison facilities and the telephones are purportedly not being cleaned regularly. Access to medical care and legal advice has become more difficult for prisoners during the lockdown. The inmates are reportedly unable to work and are therefore deprived of a source of income. Measures intended to maintain contact with families, such as longer, more frequent phone calls, have not been applied consistently. The commissioner has demanded an explanation for these allegations from the prison authorities.