Comprehensive Assessment of Detention Conditions in Albania

CPT urges the Albanian authorities to address the identified issues promptly and comprehensively

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited Albania in 2023. The primary focus of the visit was to assess the treatment and conditions of individuals held in police custody, prisons, forensic psychiatric institutions, and social care homes.

Despite the acknowledgment of the positive trends by the CPT in the treatment of individuals detained by the police in Albania, the visit published report, also underscores the need for further robust actions to eliminate instances of ill-treatment. Concerns were raised about non-standard objects, such as wooden clubs, being kept in rooms used for suspect interviews, posing potential dangers and inviting speculation about improper conduct. CPT recommends improvements in the operation of legal safeguards as well, specifically related to issues including delayed access to ex officio lawyers, complaints about their effectiveness, and limitations in the initial medical examination of detainees.

Despite a slight decrease in the overall prisoner population since 2018, Albania continues to face one of the highest incarceration rates in the Council of Europe. The CPT emphasizes the urgent need to address prison overcrowding and improve living conditions. Specific concerns were raised about Tepelena Prison’s structural deficiencies, calling for its withdrawal from service. The visit to forensic psychiatric institutions revealed concerns about living conditions, overcrowding, and the lack of medical and therapeutic staff. The CPT recommends measures to avoid prolonged de facto solitary confinement, increased visiting and telephone entitlements, and improvements in healthcare provision, including medical confidentiality. The CPT’s first visit to social care homes in Albania identified structural shortcomings, including cramped living conditions and insufficient staff supervision. Recommendations include reducing bedroom occupancy, improving living conditions, and providing a more structured program of occupational, rehabilitative, and recreational activities.

Overall, CPT concludes by urging the Albanian authorities to address the identified issues promptly and comprehensively, emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights, ensuring the well-being of detainees, and adhering to international standards in detention facilities and social care institutions.