The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its January/February 2012 visit to Slovenia. The report has been made public at the request of the Slovenian authorities, together with theirresponse.
In the course of the visit, the Committee’s delegation examined the treatment and conditions of detention of persons held in police facilities, prisons and psychiatric establishments.
The CPT received only a few isolated allegations of police ill-treatment; they concerned excessive use of force in the context of apprehension and threats of physical ill-treatment during police questioning. The material conditions of detention in police facilities were, on the whole, satisfactory.
As regards the prison system, the CPT acknowledges the efforts made by the Slovenian authorities to increase the capacity of the prison estate; however, overcrowding continued to be a problem in some prisons. In other aspects, the material conditions of detention were generally adequate. The Committee gained a particularly positive impression of the two newly-opened blocks at Dob Prison.
Particular attention is paid in the report to the regime of activities provided to inmates. In this respect, the Committee expresses concern about the situation of remand prisoners at Celje and Ljubljana Prisons, as well as of prisoners held under the reinforced security regime at Celje and Dob Prisons. The majority of these inmates spent most of the day locked-up in their cells, with little to occupy themselves. In their response, the Slovenian authorities assure the Committee that efforts will be made to improve the existing arrangements. By way of example, in the second half of 2012, the regime for remand prisoners at Ljubljana Prison was relaxed so that now the inmates concerned may spend four hours a day on weekdays out of their cells.
With respect to psychiatry, the CPT welcomes the adoption in July 2008 of the new Mental Health Act which inter alia reinforces the legal protection of patients in psychiatric/social care institutions.
At Maribor Psychiatric Department, the overwhelming majority of patients interviewed by the CPT’s delegation indicated that hospital staff had a caring attitude towards them. However, the delegation received a few allegations of physical ill-treatment of patients by nursing staff shortly after having been fixated to a bed. The CPT also expresses misgivings about the fact that mechanical restraint was not always applied as a measure of last resort and that patients were on occasion subjected to fixation for prolonged periods. In their response, the Slovenian authorities state that a clear message has been delivered to nursing staff that no ill-treatment whatsoever of patients will be tolerated and that special training is being provided in handling aggressive and/or agitated patients.