Slovenia: Overcrowding in Prisons Decreased, Climate Improved but with some Reservations

In a new report published today in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee gives a generally positive assessment of the treatment of persons detained by the police, the situation of prisoners and of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty, as well as of forensic psychiatric patients. However, additional safeguards are needed for the usage of electrical discharge weapons by the police, effective protection against refoulement should be ensured, and the use of means of restraint for psychiatric patients should be revised. The response of the Slovenian authorities was published together with the report (in English and Slovenian).

The delegation of the Committee to Prevent Torture (CPT) received only a few isolated allegations of the police ill-treatment of detained persons. However, from the very outset of the deprivation of liberty detained persons should be ensured the access to a lawyer. Additional safeguards are also needed in the light of the recently introduced possibility of the use of electrical discharge weapons by the police: officials who may use them should be carefully selected and trained, and the criteria governing their use should be similar to those applicable to firearms.

There are positive developments as regards overcrowding in prisons, with particular progress achieved at Ljubljana Prison. Generally, the Council of Europe experts received very few allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners by staff. In one of the establishments visited, the instances of inter-prisoner violence, the Committee said, were almost exclusively linked to the black market of illicit substances, prescription medication and mobile phones. The Committee recommends devising a strategy to tackle trafficking in prohibited items. Material conditions in prisons were on the whole acceptable.

The delegation visited the Postojna Detention Centre for Foreigners which accommodates foreign nationals held under aliens legislation. The report criticizes the fact that unaccompanied minors and families with children awaiting deportation are still regularly detained at the centre. It recommends placing unaccompanied minors in an open (or semi-open) specialised establishment for juveniles; and using the placement of children with parents at the detention centre as the last resort measure. If it cannot be avoided, its duration should be as short as possible, the report recommends.



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