NPM visited 21 places of detention until August

From the beginning of this year until mid-August, the National Prevention Mechanism (NPM) has carried out 21 monitoring visits to places of deprivation of liberty.

Of the 21 visits made, 13 went to prisons, four to Temporary Settlement Centers and Matched Spaces (EECIT), two to Educational Centers and two to places of detention by the police.

It is noteworthy that the NPM resumed monitoring of places of deprivation of liberty associated with mental disorders, having visited the psychiatric clinic of the prison of Santa Cruz do Bispo – Male. Given the absence of doctors in its staff, the NPM resorted to the generous collaboration of Dr. Henrique Prata Ribeiro, psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Hospital Center of Lisbon, who ensured a more informed analysis of the clinic’s operation.

Insufficient human resources, in particular with regard to the prison body and clinical services, remain one of the problems observed across the universe.

The MNP also found severe difficulties in the articulation between deprivation of liberty and mental health, raising special concern about the execution of detention measures in mental health units of the prison system. Also regarding PE, the low rate of occupation of prisoners, particularly at work, continues to raise concern.

It is also cause for concern that there has been a new episode of excessive isolation of a woman detained in EECIT, as well as situations of insufficient legal, medical, psychological and social follow-up. Some of the problems briefly referred to above have already been addressed in NPM annual reports.

The National Prevention Mechanism, assigned to the Ombudsman in Portugal, was created to make regular and unannounced visits to places of deprivation of liberty, following a preventive approach, in compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Punishments or Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment.