Prison Overcrowding and Abuse in Bulgaria Criticized by Anti-Torture Committee

A new report from the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee, published after its ninth visit to the country, paid particular attention to the treatment of detainees and juveniles in penitentiaries.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has published its report summarizing the observations made during its ninth visit to Bulgaria. The report paid particular attention to the treatment of persons in police custody and of juveniles in penitentiary establishments, as well as to the conditions of detention and the provision of healthcare in prisons.

The vast majority of the committee’s long-standing recommendations, some of them dating back to the very first periodic visit to Bulgaria in 1995, remain unimplemented. These include recommendations on ill-treatment (both in the police and prison context), inter-prisoner violence, prison overcrowding, material conditions of detention in investigation detention facilities and prisons, prison healthcare and staffing levels, as well as discipline, segregation and a lack of contact with the outside world. In some cases, the situation has deteriorated since the committee's 2010 and 2012 visits.

The full report is available here.

The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee recalls the pilot judgment delivered by the European Court of Human Rights only a few days before the CPT report. It concerns the case Neshkov and others v. Bulgaria and the inhumane conditions in Bulgaria's prisons.

Recent findings made by BHC on detention practices in juvenile correctional institutions are summarized in the report "Children Deprived of Liberty in Central and Eastern Europe: Between Legacy and Reform."