Prison of Lushnja, Kosovë

The Prison of Normal Security of Lushnja was built in early '70 destined as priso for women. In 1990, the prison was transferred to Ali Demi in Tirana, adopitng the facility as a normal security prison with a capacity of  176 people.

the Prison infrastructure remains problematic. It includes two wings; for the management of the prison population; in most of time it is overcrowded.

ARCT has constantly raised concerns about the hygiene, and difficult ventilation spaces for the inmates.

There is no autoambulance for the transport of inmates in cases of emergencies. 

ARCT has interviewed around 180 inmates (2009- 2013).  

Prison of Bënça, Tepelena

The High Security Prison of Bença in Tepelena does represent an old facility from the early '70s dedicated investigations procedures during the communist regime.The prison is positioned in a place where wheather conditions are difficult and the road infrastructure is appalling. The capacity of this prison is 56, although any time visited showed overcrowding and very difficult material condititions. the access to health services have been obsolent and medical staff was difficult to be maintained in these extreme conditions.

ARCT has constantly reccomending to close this institution, as it does not provide any standards with regards to human treatment and dignity for the inmates.

Prison Shen-Koll, Lezha

The Normal Security Prison of Shen- Koll in Lezha  was reconstructed in 2006.

During ARCT visit (latest in July 2013) overcrowding remains an issue for pre-detention and prison premises: there were 690 inmates  out of 660 (max. capacity); in pre-detention were 221 persons out of 180 (max. capacity); 9 minors out of 26 (max capacity); while 61 inmates are of 18-21 years of age, distributed as following; 34 inmates in prison and 27 in pre-detention. there is no special wing for this category of inmates: they are distributed in the buildings 1, 3 (pre-detention) and 2,4 and 5 (prison). 

The material conditions are horrible, there is no ventilation in cells, humidity, no hygiene standards. difficulties in managing the free time of all categories of inmates, as the prison is suffering from budgetary shortcuts; this prison, in fact, does represent the trends of crimes for the northern part of the country. we have recommended to improve the material conditions, transfers of people in pre-detention; improving hygiene conditions; and equipment of cells with sheets and cleaned mattresses.

ARCT has collected 79 questionnaires (2009-2013)

Prison of Fushe-Kruja

The Fushë Kruja High Security Prison  represents a new establishment built in 2008 with the support of the European Commission. The capacity of the institution is 312 persons;There are problems with electrical energy. The showers are not functioning properly because of the lack of hot water. The bathrooms are in bad conditions with humidity and the cells also. The electrical wires are bared which causes danger for the detainees. There are problems with the ventilation and in the kitchen too.

There are 2 cult rooms: one church and one mosque, a room used as a library, a gymnasium, two football fields, a room for the computer course, a room for training activities, one room for vocational training and 2 rooms for the meeting with the familiars,3 rooms for special meetings and 5 rooms for the meetings with the lawyers.

The library needs to be updated with new publications. There is a room for the detainees who wok with artistic handcrafts monitored by camera, which is also used for other recreational activities.

Poor hygiene and lack of proper medical treatment is constantly reported.
ARCT has collected 79 questionnaires (2009-2013)

Special Institute Zaharia, Kruje

The so-called special institute of Kruja was previosly used as a psychiatric hospital by the MoH. In 1999, the institution was transferred to the Ministry of Justice. This Institute is composed by as a section for inmtes under compulsory treatment and elderly, a section for chronically ill and people with disabilities. The maximum capacity is for 200 persons.

Located in a very difficult position, this facility is considered as a concern for the penitentiary system in Albania.

This institute does not comply with any international standards for the tratment of persons with disabilities and special needs, and it is considered a place where deprivation of liberty is considered torture.

The facility is a bad picture of misunderstanding of albanian institutions, with regards to the establishment of forensic institute; where diagnosted mentally ill comminting crimes should be properly and medically treated.

ARCT has reccomendated the closing of this facility. Visited constantly, ARCT has collected 19 questionnaires, and provided legal assistance to 15 inmates.

 Mental Health CareThe duty to protect detainees against suicide and selfharm illustrates that safety and healthcare can be closely related. As we have seen, regular visits, assessment and treatment by doctors and psychiatrists can be obligatory in case of mentally ill prisoners who might kill themselves. Failure to separate detainees with communicable diseases from other detainees could raise issues primarily under the right to life and the right to humane treatment of prisoners. Finally, healthcare can help to prevent violence against prisoners, by systematically keeping track of injuries and by (within certain limits) communicating information to the prison authorities. ARCT has developed a protocol for the documentation of violence and ill treatment in detention based on the principles of Istanbul Protocol. The Protocol is available and at use by medical doctors in the penitentiary system (PTD, PRI and special institutions of Kruja and Prisons Hospital), producing cases and identifying the police brutality during arrest and transfers; About 20% of the detainees interviewed reported they suffered from mental health issues requiring attention. While many did not complain they suffered from depression, their speech and body language suggested otherwise. Our interviewer’s general impression was that a substantial percentage of the detainees appear depressed, nervous, or a combination of disorders. There also appears to be improper and excessive use of solitary confinement of those who suffer from mental health problems. In the special institute of Kruja, the lack of recreational activities; the grey cement and windowless surroundings; the lack of privacy; social isolation; and uncertainty around their detention confinement all contribute to mental health instability. The GDP employs only two psychiatrists throughout the system. Inadequate treatment of the mentally ill is a violation of international law.

Prison of Burrel

The High Security Prison of Burreli is an old establishment from the communist dictatorship, known for attrocities, tortures and killings. Characteristic features of inhuman treatment, physical and psychological torture to the physical disappearance of detainees have made this Prison known in the histor of the Balkans and beyond. although few investements affected this facility, yet the conditions are appalling.

Burreli Prison is categorized as a high security prison, with a normal security section and a pre-detention section. Actually the  capacity of the prison is 189 persons.

ARCT has loobied with the President of the republic of Albania to close this institution and open a Museum of remebrance for all the attrocities of the communist dictatorship.

A Special memorial  is dedicated to all lives, lost in this prison - by ARCT

Prison of Peqin 

The prison of Peqini was inaugurated in November 2003, and categorizes as a high security prison. The capacity of the institution is 680 people, where 480 share the normal security sector and pre-detention and 200 inmates share long sentences for grave crimes in high security sector. 

The institution is composed by 2 buildings (A and B) which were separated in 12 sectors each. In the normal security building, 3 sectors serve as a pre-detention facility and 9 others as a prison. In this building 10 cells are used for observation purposes and 2 as isolation cells.  The institution has 2 cult rooms and a medical examination office.

Building A: High security sector with 121 cell 2-3 persons each, 5 cells serves for the observation and 5 for the isolation of the prisoners.

Building B: 3 sectors serves as pre-detention and 9 as prison; There are 6-8 persons per cell which leads to bad hygienic conditions. In the predetention sector the showers were not efficient.

There is overcrowding reported in every monitoring visits in different sections. In this building there is also the Special Care Sector.

The elevators are out of service and the distribution of the food remains difficult. The laundry was not functioning with all capacities and it was difficult to accomplish the institution necessities. the Inmates complain about their right to inform family relative and contacts with the outside world. 

ARCT has documented 89 questionnaires during 2009-2013

Women Prison Ali Demi (325)

The prison “Ali Demi”/ 325 is dedicated as women prison; although does include two regimes: the regime of men with a capacity for 76 prisoners and women  with a capacity for 54 prisoners; a special care section is dedicated to the treatment of mentally ill female detainees.

The facility is old and with poor infrastructure condition, but it is kept clean and maintained by the prison dedicated staff.

 Health Care: The medical staff is composed by 11 persons: the chief, 3 nurses (from 4 in the organic), a dentist, a pharmacist, 4 educators for the kindergarten .

 A gynecologist is hired from the public hospital, visitng twice a month women prisoners. There is no ambulance and the cases that need further or specialized treatment are transferred in the civil hospital.

 Vocational  courses offer training 2 times per week for different professions as: Hairdressing; Tailoring, taking care for the greenhouse, serving as occupational therapy for those who have mental health problems. Also is organized the English and computer course 3 time per week; teachers are specialized and are contracted by the project that supports these vocational courses.
They participate also in sport activities such as volleyball, table games etc. A large part of these women realize artistic handcrafts.There are a large number of prisoners who are engaged in works in the greenhouse and spend most of their time there. The library is very well functioning. The prisoners are very much interested in reading and frequent it every day. It is also equipped with computers and a television serving for different recreational activities.

ARCT has collected 106 questionnaires during monitoring visits, succesfully legally representing 17 women; providing gynaecological assistance for 61 women detained.

Prisons' Hospital CentreTirana

The Prison Hospital Centre represents a very old building; it was built around 1930. The Prison Hospital has a capacity of 128 people. In this institution are treated  those inmates experiencing health problem of different kinds, considered as emergency cases. Most of the staff are medical doctors, but the facility does provide for the medical examination, and laboratory tests.

The problems raised by the medical staff were:

-Lack of securing equipments for persons suffering from mental health problems, in case of high risk for self-injury or hurtingother persons.

-Lack of a standardized protocol in case of using securing equipments.

-Permanent conflict with judiciary bodies for the transfers of all persons with forced medication suffering from mental health problems in this hospital, which is not specialized for this category of prisoners.

-The predomination of persons with mental health problems, which form 70% of the hospital population.

-The need of an institution for persons with mental health diseases.

-The inclusion of medical doctors in the dependency of Ministry oh Health.

-The accommodation of abandoned persons in this institution.

-Lack of specific equipments.

-Improvement of the relationships with the civil hospital in order not to stigmatize the detainees.

-Improvement of the wages according to the difficulties of the work.

ARCT has collected 10 questionnaires (2013)

Approximately 75% of detainees interviewed reported medical problems that required medical attention. 45% who sought care were dissatisfied with the treatment they received. Our interviews suggest a widespread problem of inadequate access to medical care, especially emergency medical care. Inadequate access to medical care violates the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the minimum standards of the UN Principles for Detained Persons. Allowing a person to suffer from extreme pain without treatment is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, a violation of both international law and Article 87 of the Albanian Criminal Code.

Correctional Centre of Juvenile Offenders, Kavaja

The Correctional Centre for Juvenile Offenders is a new institution, dealing with juvenile offenders in conflict with the law, assisting the young people's rehabilitation and prevent them from re-offending (2009). There is a need for improvements during the screening procedures upon arrival to ensure all immediate healthcare and other needs identified and catered for, right to correspondence, education, etc.

The regimes should be designed to meet the aim of preventing offending by young people. Key features of the regimes should include: * A child centred approach * A special emphasis on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children * The provision of a safe environment for all young people at all times * Special attention to every young person's physical, mental and social health * Daily involvement in activities in keeping with individual needs, abilities and potential   * Staff who have received appropriate training and can act as ‘significant adults' and role models.

The overall number of juveniles goes up to 41; while the ARCT number of interwied detainees goes up to 67 from the period 2009- 2013.

Pre-detention Centre of Elbasan

The pre-detention Centre of Elbasan is a new institution (2012). Institutional capacity is for 120 people.The conditions are very good, the number of the detainees was over 140, slightly over capacity (23 persons) as of june 2013.  A unique finding: two positions were kept by one person (the head of the education sector was also the head of the juridical sector). The religious place was unfinished (empty); the gym was also empty; the solar panels were not in use; the location does not provide high level of life security - a detained person may be seen and targeted by anyone, up in the hills.

During the monitoring visits, ARCT has encountered good material conditions, modern kitchen and culinary equipment yet with no use for the detention population and/or detention staff. The food was catered and brought to the facility; and the kitchen was not in use.

ARCT has interviewed 34 people in pre-detention.

Pre-detention Centre of Saranda

The Pre -detention Centre of Saranda was at use since 2007. The institution operates on the first and second floor of the building at the Police Station in Saranda. The capacity of this institution is 40 detainees and prisoners, divided into 10 cells.

The establishment is dedicated for male adults; condittions are difficult and there is no special cells for juvenile or female offenders.

ARCT has reccoemnded the closing and re-opeining a newly built institution, fully complying with international standards

Prison of Rrogozhina

The normal security prison of Rrogozhina is operating since February 2002. Accommodation capacity of the institution is 343 persons. According to the Order of the Minister of Justice, Rrogozhina Prison is categorized as normal security prison with a detention section.

The institution is organized in three sectors: one that serves as a pre-detention (with 22 cells) facility with 158 detainees and the others as a prison of common security (40 cells) with 270 prisoners. The prison capacity is 370 persons. The observation cell is used also as isolation cells. 6 persons are part of the group of 18-21 years old category.

 There were rooms for: the administration, a library in prison sector, a gym, 3 ventilation rooms, 1 observation/ isolation room, a dentist
room, a room for medical examinations, a cult room and a kitchen. All these environments had bad hygiene and poor infrastructure conditions. 
Security cameras are installed; and some reparations related to the water furnishing and heating system, different intervention in improving the office conditions for the administration and the room for meetings with the familiars. But the building infrastructure remains with lot of problems as: humidity, bad hygiene and material conditions, insect presents in cells and food, very bad conditions in bathrooms,
lack of furniture and mattresses etc.

ARCT is currently screeining the current inmate population and has collected 443 questionnaires (2009-2013)

Pre-Detention Centre of Vlora

The Pre-Detention Centre of Vlora was established and opened in 2008. It is a facility which is basically providing custodial services to around 120 detainees; the facility does include a special wing for juvenile offenders in pre-detention.

The building is a new one, constructed and equipped with all necessary furniture and environment that are important for an effective functioning. A very disturbing problem is the very bad condition of the road that leads to the institution. The facility includes: administration, Sector for adult detainees;hospital, pharmacy, a kitchen, lawyer room, gym, library, computer room, a storehouse; a sector for minors, 18-21 years old sector; rooms for activities of psycho-social staff, rooms for professional courses and recreational activities. The institution has 2 fields for the outdoor activities; and one football field.

During ARCT monitoring the reccomendations were regarding the provision of hot and cold water inside the cells; the equipment of the health sector with the autoambulance; the need for some investments for the road infrastructure. ARCT has collected around 78 questionnaires (2009-2013).  

Prison of Drenova, Korce

The Hight Securty prison of Drenova in Korça  is a newly established facility. It does represent an institution with the special sections on pre-detention, normal security, high security levels. During 2012-13 this institution has been visited more than 8 times; where concrete reccomendations on access to health, training and capacity building for the new prison officers is needed in order to fulfil the standards. 

There are a number of issues which remain unresolved. In this connection, particular reference is made to material conditions and water supply, admissions and medical examinations upon admissions, psychological symptoms of suicide and other psychological disorders, and sanitation. As regards to prisoners, there is a request for better organization of the prison schedules; whereas the hunger strikes are contantly used as a form of protests against administration rejects. During 2012-2013, the prison experienced more than 6 replacements in prison administration staff.

The ARCT has a consolidated format of performing monitoring visits: 1) the structure of the monitoring visits, 2) the methodology to be used; 3) and, a multidisciplinary team of experts (lawyer, psychologist, social worker and medical doctor, and psychiatrist). Each visit has a number of elements applied in a standard way, as well as other ones implemented differently from institution to institution. Checklists of in-depth (semi-structured) interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions were used to approach the detainees. The professional expertise was used to profile the typology of the cases, and potential mediation during ARCT monitoring visits; clear indicators were developed and a comparative study was finalized dedicated to improvements in the rehabilitation and social integration indicators of the penitentiary system (more than 65 questionnaires and around 20 structured interviews on different indicators: minorities, women, juvenile, education, rehabilitation and material conditions).

Pre-detention Centre of Berat

The Pre-detention Centre of Berat is located in the city center, within the premises of the police station. This institution was opened in September 2007. Accommodation capacity is for 46 people.

In the course of the visit, the ARCT team received a complaint, and request for legal representation, which is evidenced through questionnaires and interviews. That said there are a number of issues which remain unresolved; they should be addressed as a matter of urgency. In this regard, particular reference is made to conditions of detention, medical examinations upon admissions, psychological symptoms of psychological disorders, and drug abuse and sanitation. 

 On-going training should be planned for all management staff already working in the penitentiary system. Particular attention should also be paid at the recruitment stage to the selection of persons with the appropriate personal qualities established.

 As regards to prisoners, there is an urgent need for increasing the wage incomes in relation with prisoners’ financial situation. The application of the alternative sentences and the service of Proof will create possibilities for reducing the number of incarcerated and increasing the emergencies for social and rehabilitation services.

Pre-Detention centre of Tropoja

The Pre-detention Centre in Tropoja is within Tropoja Police Station. According to the order of the Minister of Justice, this institution is categorized as normal security.

Current detention capacity is for 15 people. 

Problems with infrastructure, especially in the winter time create difficulties in approaching this institution. ARCt has constantly reccomended the closing of this facility. 

Pre-Detention Centre of Kukës

The Kukesi Pre-detention does represent an old facility located in the backyard of the Kukes Police Commissariat, trasferred in 2007 under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice (General Prisons Directorate).

The ARCT Monitoring process is based on the review of the basic human rights violations and torture, the material conditions in places of detention, rights of detainees, regime activities and health care, prison management (staff capacity) and respective administrative regulations.

The material conditions remain problematic; the cells are with no natural light, with humidity. Although the number of detainees in pre-trial remain low, problems continue to be reported with regards to access to heath related rights, access to legal aid/councel; improvement of hygiene.

ARCT has constantly raised the reccomendations for improved conditions, and humane treatment of the detainees (whom most of the time do represent minorities as Kosovars, Serbs, etc): this facility does not comply with any international standards entitled under the OPCAT, ECPT, etc.

ARCT has interviewed 87% of detained population (2008-2013) in this facility (approx. 8-10 persons out of 13). 

Pre-detention Centre of Durres

The Pre-detention Centre in Durres is a newly built institution, with financial support of the European Commission and contribution from Albanian Government. This institution was initially supported to solve the issues of a special forensic institution, yet the standards were not fully respected. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health could not find any agreement in this respect, living the gap and the needs for such institution – present and urgent.

It is functional since 2008.

This institution remains at the sight of monitors as it has replaced the GP hospital in Tirana: now all metal disorders/diseases are treated by the medical staff of this institution, creating a possibility to strengthen the psychiatric needs and rehabilitation component. The Durres Pre-trial detention has two main divisions (pre-trial and the special sector for patients, experiencing mental health problems while in detention (un- diagnostified mentally ill prisoners, the suicidal symptoms, drug users, etc). 

ARCT Indentified problems:

  • The institution does need a special ambulance to transfer the detainees with special needs in case of emergencies to the general prisons hospital in Tirana,
  • There is need for more recreational activities for people with mental disorders and minor psychiatric problems.
  • There is need for further support on the protocols of crisis management – ARCT has successfully introduced the Istanbul Protocol on effective documentation of torture and ill-treatment by medical doctors.
  • There is a need for rehabilitation program – the ones existing remain at lowest levels and do not address the needs of detained population who are having serious problem in adaptation, drug users, and most importantly those experiencing suicidal attempts.
  • There is a need for the pre-detention wing to maintain control of overcrowding

ARCT is the initiator of the national campaign for the ratification of OPCAT and establishment of the National preventive Mechanism under People’s Advocate. Having the professional medical background (psychiatric, psychological, general practitioners, social workers and lawyers) ARCT is institutionalized through written agreements with PA for the support through medical component and forensic expertise in cases of abuse and violence.

ARCT is an actor of consultations with regards to CPT missions in Albania, UN Committee against Torture, UN Committee for Human Rights and European Commission (with regards to progress report).

When analyzing the detention conditions in Albania's penitentiary system, we can stress a marked discrepancy between the laws pertaining treatment of those disabled inmates and the conditions under which they actually live. These discrepancies are mentioned in using the “disability” as an escape gate for those criminals who can benefit from a corrupted judiciary system in Albania. Efforts have been put forwards for the improvement of the system, yet there was a failure in managing the Kruja Penitentiary institution (with a number of 70 detainees); after a long time after reconstruction of Durrësi facilities/establishment the issues of provision of forensic and psychiatric evaluation have been constantly raised by the external monitors. During 2012, the Durrës pre-detention facility accepted around 12 pre-detainees and 46 inmates who are experiencing mental problems after incarceration. 

Prison of Vaqarri

The Normal Security Prison in Vaqarr has a capacity of 146 persons. It is an old facility with problems in material conditions, sanitation and humidity.

It includes: counseling room, room for visits with familiars, observation/isolation room and a ventilation field.The institution has 2 cult rooms and a hospital. There were 4 fields for ventilation and other recreational activities. The Adult sector is composed by a building with 2
floors which has 34 cells with 4-8 prisoners each; a library and a computer classroom.
The Isolation/ observation sector is located in a separate building behind the regime of adults. Its capacity is 6 cells by 2 people. Currently there is no detainee sentenced to isolation measure.

School: This is a building painted from outside with different figures and inside equipped with two classrooms for education activities. The school is attended by 20 detainees.

Hygiene: Each floor has 6 shared showers - where every convicted graph can have access to 2 times a week. In general the conditions are bad and the environments have morbidity. The mattresses need to be changed with new ones.
Food: it was cooked in good conditions but its distribution wasn’t realized properly in terms of hygiene equipments.
Leisure activities: There are organized entertainment games such as: chess, cards, pingpong, domino, sports activities each day such as football, basketball etc.

ARCT has collected 75 questionnaires (2009-2013)

Pre-detention Centre Mine Peza (302) Tirana

The pre-detention centre “Mine Peza” (known as 302), is one of the detention centres located in Tirana and one of the oldest prisons in Albania. Actually this institution deals pre-detention sentences and transfers from police commissariats and has a small contingent of detainees. According to the Order of Minister of Justice this pre-detention is categorized into two sections: a high security and other common security. 

ARCT has constantly reccomended the closing of this old establishment; 100 questionnaires have been collected interviewing cases of illtreatment and access to basic rights (2009-2013).

Prison Jordan Misja, Tirana (313)

The high security prison "Jordan Misja" is on of the prisons in Tirana, with a capacity of 321 people; categorized as high security establishment, divided into three sectors: adults/men, women and juveniles.

This prison does represnt an old facility from the previos communist regime; the material condititons remain appalling; the hygiene is extreme and overcrowding is a problem for the pre-detention section. Being in Tirana and close to the Criminal Justice Court, this prison does reflect very poor levels of security and it accounts many attempt for escape of inmates.

ARCT during the monitoring visits, has collected 113 questionnaires at all three sections (2009-2013), with more than 23 court cases and 5 criminal cases succesfully represented by ARCT legal unit.