HIV-infected prisoners 'in two-person cells'

28th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

28 June 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch prisoners with infectious diseases such as HIV are being placed in two-person cells, breaching agreements over the introduction of the system, it was reported Monday.

28 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch prisoners with infectious diseases such as HIV are being placed in two-person cells, breaching agreements over the introduction of the system, it was reported Monday.

Trade unions FNV and AbvaKabo claim that jail wardens have complained on five occasions that prisoners have been detained with inmates infected with HIV or Hepatitis B.

It had previously been revealed that drug addicted inmates and prisoners with psychiatric troubles have been placed in two-person cells, Dutch pubic news service NOS reported.

But in response to the latest allegations, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has denied that regulations have been breached.

Despite the denial, green-left GroenLinks MP Marijke Vos has demanded an emergency debate with the minister in the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer.

The Justice Ministry and unions had agreed that neither drug addicts nor prisoners with psychiatric problems would come under consideration for placement in a two-person cell.

A ministry spokeswoman said mid-April that this agreement had not been breached. 

Meanwhile, AbvaKabo has previously said that jails involved in the trial of the two-person cell system had been confronted with a shortage of personnel. It opened a complaints line in April.

Since then, 59 complaints have been lodged about personnel shortages and the placing of drug addicted prisoners and inmates with psychiatric problems in two-person cells.

But a ministry spokesman was unaware of the complaints and said according to an agreement between the Dutch government, jails and unions, complaints must be handled within the jail itself.

If a solution cannot be found, a special commission is called in to resolve the matter and only one complaint has been lodged with the commission, the spokesman said.

In total, seven jails have been involved since Autumn 2003 in the trial and Minister Donner intends to evaluate the results this summer. It is hoped that two-person cells will alleviate capacity problems in Dutch jails, where one-person cells are the norm.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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