Deficiencies found in prison system

Public Defender's Office reports of crowded, unsanitary cells; convicts tell of violence, humiliation.

prison guard 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
prison guard 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There are grave deficiencies in the infrastructure of most detention facilities in Israel, and the living conditions in many of them are inhumane, the Public Defender's Office said in a report published on Sunday. The 2009 annual report showed that prisoners were being held in overcrowded, unsanitary cells, leading to a deterioration in their health. Convicts in one third of the detention centers complained of violent and humiliating treatment on the part of the prison guards, including severe punitive measures. According to the report, the prisoners' rehabilitation is often delayed and even prevented due to a shortage of therapeutic frameworks. In addition, because detention facilities are so crowded, detainees are often illegally held in Prison Service vehicles for over ten hours at a time, the report said. Israel's Prison Service said in response that the service was working to improve the convicts' living conditions, in cooperation with the Public Defender's Office, Israel Radio reported. Forty new departments and one prison were built over the past two years, and some NIS 80 million have been designated to improve living conditions within the detention facilities, according to Israel Radio.