31.03.2022 | Violations in the field of punishment and other coercive measures were identified during 2021. Summary

During 2021, the RA Prosecutor’s Office conducted 1189 inspections and studies in the field of control over the legality of the application of punishments and other coercive measures. As a result, 153 violations were identified, which is approximately 1.5 times more than in 2020. In 2020, 16 messages were sent to the relevant authorities. Based on them, 14 acts contrary to the law were revised and 21 acts contrary to the law were suspended.


As a result of inspections carried out by the Department at the penitentiary institution, a number of violations were registered in connection with the conditions of detention of convicts, measures of social rehabilitation, as well as the basic rights of prisoners.


During the study, it was found out that in the penitentiary institutions fines are mainly for possession of mobile phones.


Detainees, communicating with the outside world using mobile phones, in certain cases commit various criminal acts, including drug trafficking, theft or extortion of property, etc. The only guarantee to prevent this is the adoption of specific effective measures to prevent their penetration, such as the installation of radio frequency jammers to suppress the radio frequency channels of cellular communications.


It also turned out that the detainees in a number of cases did not use the payphones installed in the penitentiary institution, referring to interruptions in the work of payphones, the lack of appropriate cards, as well as a limited number of calls per week.


In order to systematically address these issues, a message was sent to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia in 2021, by which was proposed to take the necessary measures within the framework of existing legal norms to quantitatively improve the schedule for the use of payphones by persons held in penitentiary institutions.


In the response letter it was said that within the framework of the envisaged reforms in the system of the penitentiary service, measures are envisaged aimed at resolving the issues raised, eliminating the vulnerability of the penitentiary security and safety.


The studies showed that in order to protect the health of prisoners, the doctors of the SNCO “Medical Center for Penitentiary Institution” did not properly fulfill the requirements for making the necessary visits to penitentiary institutions and supervising them. In some penitentiaries, mandatory medical examinations were partially carried out for prisoners with diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.


In order to take effective measures to eliminate these other violations and inactions, the Prosecutor's Office sent a message to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia in 2021. The response letter stated that the director of the SNCO was instructed to strengthen control over the medical units in all penitentiary institutions.


The results of studies conducted in penitentiary institutions will be announced soon.