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Finland Cautioned About Prison Conditions

The Council of Europe anti-torture Committee has issued a report with recommendations on improving human rights conditions in the Finnish prison system.

Konnunsuon vankilan käytävä
Konnunsuon vankilan käytävä Image: YLE

The Council of Europe's Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) carried out a visit to Finland in April of last year, at the request of the Finnish authorities.

On Tuesday, it published a report containing recommendations aimed at eliminating the practice of holding remand prisoners in police cells. In this context, the Finnish authorities have informed the Committee of plans to adopt measures to decrease the number of remand prisoners in police establishments and to shorten the periods spent by them in police custody.

The CPT’s delegation also found that persons detained under the Aliens Act were still frequently held in police establishments. The Committee has recommended that the Finnish authorities consider the possibility of opening a second specialised holding facility for aliens, like the one opened in Metsälä.

The report also addresses in detail various issues related to prisons, in particular the phenomenon of inter-prisoner violence and intimidation as well as the situation of prisoners held in high security and closed units. The CPT has recommended that a national approach be developed to address the issue of “fearful” prisoners, and that a suitable programme of purposeful activities be provided to prisoners held in conditions of high security or segregated by court order.

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