The Chancellor of Justice regularly carries out inspection visits of the places of detention. According to the Aricle 4 of the UN Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a place of detention is a place where persons are or may be deprived of their liberty, either by virtue of an order given by a public authority or at its investigation or with its consent or acquiescence. Deprivation of liberty means any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a person in a public or private custodial setting which that person is not permitted to leave at will by order of any judicial, administrative or other authority.
Places of detention are for example:
- houses of detention, police departments and constable offices;
- chambers of detention at court houses;
- establishments for children needing special treatment due to behavioural problems;
- special social welfare institutions and general social welfare institutions providing special care;
- health care institutions providing psychiatric, rehabilitation treatment and treatment of infectious diseases against one’s will;
- authorities of migration (expulsion centre, centre for receiving applicants).
The selection of places of detention and the frequency of visits is based on criteria as the nature of the institution, number of detainees, the flow rate detainees in this institution, risk of ill-treatment, etc.
An inspection visit may be announced or unannounced, occur during the day or at night, on a weekday or at the weekend. The Chancellor of Justice may invite experts (e.g. GPs or psychiatrists) and people who know the conditions (e.g. wheelchair users) to attend inspection visits or carry out the visits in cooperation with a state supervision agency (e.g. the State Agency of Medicines, the Social Insurance Board or the Rescue Board).
During an inspection visit, the Chancellor of Justice and his advisers have a private conversation with the staff of the institution, as well as the detainees. A tour of the institution is carried out to inspect the living conditions of the persons staying there and to ascertain whether the situation in the institution makes it possible to prevent torture as well as inhuman and degrading treatment, to check how health services are organised, to examine relevant databases and documents etc.
According to the Chancellor of Justice Act § 27 (3), a place of detention shall ensure to the Chancellor of Justice during a inspection visit:
- unrestricted access to information necessary for verifying whether the inspected establishment complies with the principle of guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms and the principle of good administration;
- unrestricted access to information concerning persons staying in the establishment and their conditions of detention and location;
- access to the premises and territory of the inspected establishment;
- an opportunity to talk, without the presence of others, to each person whose rights are restricted in the establishment as well as the staff.
As a result of the inspection visit, the Chancellor of Justice shall draw up a summary setting out the good practice of the place of detention and substantiated recommendations and suggestions for the elimination of deficiencies. The place of detention has a possibility to give its feedback and explanations to the made recommendations. If necessary, the Chancellor of Justice monitors the implementation of the recommendations at a follow-up inspection visit.