A safe and balanced civic society presumes a mutual understanding between all members of the society. Therefore, prisons must also not constitute a closed system and the goings-on in prison should, rather, be visible and comprehensible to the wider public. To that end, the Ministry of Justice has convened Prison Committees: the involvement of citizens and citizens’ associations helps ensure prisoners’ fundamental rights and assist prison management in its daily work.
The Prison Committee helps prison management organize the prison’s work and provides assistance to the management in resolving issues pertaining to placement, studies, employment, and surveillance of prisoners, catering and medical services provided to prisoners, as well as other issues related to sentencing enforcement. The Prison Committee’s work is undertaken in the format of meetings, led by the Chairman of the Committee. The Prison Committee issues its decisions in resolutions, recommendations, or protests.
To enable members of the Prison Committee to perform their tasks, the members are assigned a number of rights, the most important of which is the right to enter prison premises at any time, demand the management and prison staff documents related to the prison’s work, and meet the prisoners. The Ministry of Justice views processing of inquiries by the Committee members as priority.