ZAGREB, September 4, 2020 – The situation in Croatian prisons is good and epidemiological measures have prevented the spread of coronavirus, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said in parliament on Friday during a debate on a bill on the execution of prison sentences.
He said two prisoners had been positive for the virus but they did not infect fellow prisoners.
There has been a “relatively small number of incident situations” in Croatian prisons when taking into consideration that over 12,000 prisoners pass through them annually, he said, adding that it was necessary to continue to work on the professionalisation of prison staff.
MPs said conditions in some prisons were bad and that convicts were not treated equally due to delays in serving their sentences.
Vili Matula of the green-left bloc asked how the manipulation of rules would be stopped. “(Tomo) Horvatincic is drinking coffee in Samobor, while saying that he is not going to prison because of grave illnesses.”
Davor Dretar of the Homeland Movement said there was a “privileged caste who start feeling ill as soon as a final sentence strikes them.” He also mentioned missing memory cards and escapes to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and said this party would not endorse the bill.
Misel Jaksic of the Social Democrats said changes in prisons alone would not change the judicial system and that it cannot be said that tis is working as long as there are cases like Zdravko Mamic and Horvatincic.
Zeljko Sacic of the Sovereignits praised corrections officers for doing a complex and tough job, calling for improvement of their status and of the conditions for visiting prisoners.
Veljko Kajtazi of the ethnic minorities group said conditions in prisons had improved over the past ten years but that there was s shortage of corrections officers and that some prisons were overcrowded and had poor sanitary conditions.
Presenting the bill, Minister Malenica said it ensured the equal status of all prisoners, raised the security of correctional institutions, improved the conditions of serving sentences, reduced costs in the long term and dealt with overcrowding.