30 August 2016

 MG 7266There is not enough space for inmates in wheelchairs to move freely within the cells. The bathrooms are too narrow, and the stairs leading to a canteen and library as well as the odontologist, family doctor and psychologist are not adjusted for the use of people with disabilities. The Seimas Ombudsman Augustinas Normantas released these findings after a visit to Alytus Correction House.

Having assessed the human rights situation in Alytus Correction House, the Seimas Ombudsman Mr. A. Normantas noted that there was a noticeable shortage of wheelchairs and other movement-compensation equipment for people with disabilities. Moreover, there were no bathroom safety rails in showers to facilitate the mobility of individuals with disabilities so they could perform their hygiene procedures independently.

The employees of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office have also established that there was a lack of seats in prison yards for inmates with disabilities. Therefore, prisoners who had mobility challenges and had to move with walkers or walking sticks or crutches did not have a place to sit down and have rest.

Furthermore, Mr. A. Normantas drew attention to the fact that privacy in the hygiene facilities for inmates with disabilities was not ensured in Alytus Correction House.

“The cleanliness and adequate ventilation were not sufficient in lavatories and shower-baths. Moreover, water taps, shower mixers, their handles and toilet flush mechanisms did not operate or were damaged,” noted the Seimas Ombudsman.

The president of the Association “Lithuanian Disability Forum,” Mrs. Dovilė Juodkaitė, who conducted the inspection in cooperation with the employees of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office as an independent expert, highlighted another important and unresolved problem in imprisonment institutions:

“The Health Service Department may not be able to provide all health care services to the imprisoned people because of the vacant or partially occupied positions of medical professionals in Alytus Correction House.”

Furthermore, the employees of the Human Rights Division of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office noted that health care services were planned to be provided in violation of legal acts regulating the provision of such services.

“First of all, Alytus Correction House does not have a license to provide services of a family doctor and psychiatrist. Secondly, a therapeutist provides medical services that are not established in his

license. Thirdly, the health care services must be provided in compliance with legal acts regulating such services,” the Seimas Ombudsmen noted in his recommendations.

The Seimas Ombudsman has also placed emphasis on the need to adjust the physical environment of imprisonment facilities to the needs of inmates with disabilities.

Finally, the Seimas Ombudsman recommended to the head of the Prison Department to ensure that the number of health service employees in Alytus Correction House meets the number specified in the Health Care Services Standards.