Today: June 14, 2024
May 5, 2015

Prague gets ‘friendlier’ prison

Remand prison reopens after renovation due to changes in law on custody

Prague, May 5 (ČTK) — The custody suites in the Prague-Ruzyně Remand Prison reopen today after reconstruction that enables phone calls of the accused and their families and more frequent visits to the prison, in line with an amendment to the Czech law on police custody that took effect in 2014.

“We must guarantee the detention of the accused and prevent them from escaping, but the attitude towards them should be different because it should take into account that they were not punished. Last but not least, their social contacts and work habits should be torn as little as possible,” Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told the Czech News Agency.

In the Czech Republic, those accused by police can be held and questioned by the police before they are charged with a crime by a state attorney. Apart from pre-charge detention, detention during the trial is possible as well.

The reconstruction of the Prague-Pankrác remand prison, costing about 2 million Kč, concerned mainly the water and electricity systems and new flooring. The suites have been equipped with new furniture, the facility has three culture rooms instead of one, a new sewing room, a wheelchair accessible suite and a new shower room.

The accused will be able to spend more time outside their suites, called “custodial prison cells” in Czech.

The capacity of the facility with 29 suites slightly decreased after the reconstruction, the Prison Service authority said.

The reform of the conditions of custody started in the Prague- Pankrác remand prison in 2013.

Former lawmaker and regional governor David Rath, who was accused of corruption and whose trial is likely to end soon, complained about the conditions of his pre-trial custody. He filed complaints against the state and the judge who extended his pre-trial detention.

According to the Prison Service, some 2,131 people, including 158 women, are kept in pre-trial custody now. The Czech Republic has 10 prison facilities with custody suites and 83 percent of their capacity is currently used.

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