In a new report the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) calls upon the Moldovan authorities to take resolute action, without delay, to tackle the phenomenon of informal prisoner hierarchy and inter-prisoner violence and intimidation throughout the prison system, which they have failed to address over the years. (See the executive summary)
The report contains the findings of a visit carried out to the Republic of Moldova in December 2022 to re-examine the treatment and conditions of detention of persons held in prison.
The report highlights that the phenomenon of informal prisoner hierarchy and the resulting inter-prisoner violence and intimidation remains largely unaddressed and prisons still generally fail to ensure a safe environment for incarcerated persons. Once again, a high number of persons held in prison described to the CPT delegation the overall atmosphere of intimidation and violence created by the informal prison leaders and their close circles.
The situation of persons considered to be “humiliated” or “untouchable”, that is, those on the lowest “caste” of the informal prisoner hierarchy, remains a matter of serious concern. The CPT considers that it could be considered to constitute a continuing violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Further, the delegation observed a strikingly uneven distribution of prisoners within the establishments visited, a situation closely linked with the phenomenon of informal prisoner hierarchy; certain privileged prisoners were dwelling in spacious rooms or even small flats consisting of several rooms, with abundant equipment. The CPT recommends that prisoners be fairly distributed in cells and dormitories and be provided at least 4 m² of living space per person.
The report has been made public under the automatic publication procedure introduced by the Moldovan authorities.