Fifteen months after its adoption by the Government, the implementation of the National Strategy on the Development of the Penitentiary System in North Macedonia (2021-25) was reviewed by a dedicated working group, composed of senior representatives from the Directorate for the Execution of Sanctions, the Ministry of Health, Ombudsman’s Office, as well as one civil society organisation.
Namely, the Government-established cross-section group that oversees the implementation of this Strategy met on 3-4 November 2022 to review the current state of implementation and provide guidance for the upcoming period to the relevant stakeholders. As expected, material conditions in prisons, along with the provision of medical care rank among the most pressing priorities. All remarks by the civil society and the Ombudsman’s representative were taken on board, based on their visits to the prisons and reports provided.
The National Strategy on the Development of the Penitentiary System (2021-25) was adopted by the Government in July 2022, based on the draft prepared by all stakeholders, supported by the Council of Europe project. Through its twelve objectives, the Strategy foresees specific actions towards ensuring a more secure and humane treatment of detained and sentenced persons. The Council of Europe had previously also assisted the authorities with the drafting of the first penitentiary strategy in North Macedonia (2014-2019).
This activity was organised under the action on “Enhancing the capacities of the penitentiary system and the External Oversight Mechanism in North Macedonia”, which is a part of the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022".