The Ombudsman Institution requires the immediate closure of the four prisons in Albania because of their degradation. The prisons of Tepelena, Saranda, Burrel and Krujaare required to be closed. Through a report, the Albanian Ombudsman accuses the General Directorate of Prisons and the Ministry of Justice of not having fulfilled the legal obligations to take measures and intervene in these four prisons.
“In particular, the extremely degrading material conditions in the internal premises of the Institution for the Execution of Criminal Decisions: Zahari, Kruja, Saranda, Tepelena, Burrel make the guarantee of rights of the pre-trial inmates and the inmates impossible, sanctioned in international acts and national legislation in power. Since these findings continue to be ascertained repeatedly, even in more degraded conditions, the Ombudsman has recommended the immediate closure of the Institution for the Execution of Criminal Decisions, Zahari,Kruja, Saranda, Burrel, Tepelena and the transfer of persons to other penitentiary institutions”.
According to the report, most of the prisons in Albania have high humidity, electricity is cut off and they are full of insects. “The infrastructure in most of the prisons presents major issues of amortization, humidity, electricity and water supply, provision of natural lighting and complete ventilation of cells, insects, out-of-standard toilets, kitchens, showers, ventilation rooms, isolation rooms, etc. Except for the new and reconstructed prisons – which have practically created a double-standard system in the Albanian penitentiary system.
The Ombudsman Institution states that in some prisons the overcrowding creates a big problem. “Overcrowding was also found in prisons of Lezha, Kruja, Rrogozhina, Tepelena, Drenova and Saranda, which most of the time functioned out of the official capacity. As a consequence of overcrowding, some of the prisons had applied to increase the number of beds, which reduced the number of people who slept on the ground, but which resulted in the violation of the standard of space and the minimum legal cell capacity per person”.
The Ombudsman says there are problems with providing education and training opportunities.
“Kukës, Tropoja, Lezha, Lushnja, Tepelena, Saranda and Rrogozhina prisons were not provided with compulsory education in accordance with the existing Agreement between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education and Sports for the 9-year education.
In none of the penitentiary institutions, even in the Juvenile Institute in Kavaja, no secondary education was provided. Reward for the work performed in all institutions, except for the Prison in Burrel, was only given by reducing 3.9 days of sentence per month for prisoners, while for pre-trial inmates the work was recorded in the file and in cases when they were sentenced by a final court decision, the reduction of punishment was calculated”.