PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

This means that an increasing part of imprisonment

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prices have skyrocketed. This means that an increasing part of imprisonment cost has shifted to the inmates themselves in a time when family support declines. In Latvia an attempt to reduce the ratio of calcium in inmates’ diet to allegedly save prison service resources in a time of economic crises led to a constitutional claim brought by an inmate, which resulted in the Constitutional Court declaring the provision unconstitutional in 2010. In Portugal claims of hunger as a result of bad quality and insufficient quantity of food are heard. Decreasing budgets and increasing numbers of inmates shrunk the daily allocation for food per inmate from 4 euros to 3,5 euros. In a prison, the bread has been rationed because otherwise the last inmates to arrive got nothing. Another serious consequence of the crisis is related to labour. In Poland, over the years 2008 - 2012, the number of employed inmates decreased by more than half (from 20.083 in 2008 to 9.426 in 2012). However, the reasons of this situation can be sought only indirectly in economic crisis. A judgement of
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 54 the Constitutional Court of 23 February 2010 (P 20/09) had a greater influence on that issue. As a result of that ruling remuneration of working inmates was equalized to the minimum wage level. This caused a significant increase of labour costs, which led to a huge reduction in the number of companies interested in providing work for inmates. The economic crisis enhanced that trend. In France, the crisis has exacerbated the decline in labour supply provided by the private partners. Much of the work available for inmates is industrial labour, a sector in decline in France, which was also hit by the crisis. The number of inmates employed in the industrial sector has decreased by 9% since 2008. In some cases, the staff too suffered from the consequences of the crisis. Prison staffing in the UK fell overall by 11,4 per cent between 2010/11 and 2012/13. In England and Wales staff numbers declined from 49.348 to 43.160 in this period; in Northern Ireland from 2.348 to 1.992 (typically against the UK trend, numbers in Scotland rose from 4.178 in 2010/11 to 4.350 in 2012/13, an increase of 4,1%). In Greece, salary cuts (up to 50% of net annual income) have forced many prison officers to retire earlier. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice has not been allowed to hire prison guards since 2009. Extreme understaffing (shifts with 1-2 prison guards per 400-450 inmates, staff working for weeks without a day off) threatens inmates’ personal safety. In this context, special police forces have repeatedly been asked to enter prisons to suppress riots or to search the cells for weapons. We already highlighted that also the health care staff is affected by the crisis: in Portugal, the slow transfer of responsibility for inmate health care from the penitentiary system to the national health care system continues, while shrinking budgets result in some medical staff not being paid and others being fired.
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