Serbian prisons overwhelmed by large inmate population

Serbian prisons overwhelmed by large inmate population
# 11 March 2011 03:22 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Serbia’s prison system is being overwhelmed with the large number of inmates currently incarcerated in the country’s 28 jails, stated Ivan Kuzminovic, executive director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, reported the Serbian news agency Tanjug on Thursday, APA reports quoting news.xinhuanet.com website.

Addressing a news conference in Belgrade on Thursday, Kuzminovic said that corrections facilities in Serbia were designed to accommodate 6,500 prisoners. However, over 11,000 are currently being held.

The women’s correctional facility in the eastern Serbian town of Pozarevac was, in particular, cited for its poor conditions, where over 600 women are held in a prison intended for less than half that number.

Kuziminovic said the problem was not merely a lack of investment in infrastructure, but that a repressive judicial system keeps inmates behind bars when they could otherwise be serving the last one-third of their sentences outside of prison.

Although the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) established the practice of allowing for the early release of prisoners, an estimated 80 percent of parole appeals are refused in Serbia, said Kuzminovic, citing research conducted by the Serbian Helsinki Committee.

As a consequence, Serbia has the largest number of inmates in the Western Balkans.

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia is a volunteer, non-profit organization dealing with human rights issues in Serbia. It is a member of International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights.
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