Today, Wednesday, January 5, 2022, the Research and Studies Unit of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issued a report entitled: (The Inevitable Upgrade…New Prisons and a New Punitive Approach).
The report emphasized that as part of the state’s efforts to get rid of old and dilapidated prisons and within the framework of achieving the objectives of the national strategy for human rights, it began establishing new prison systems under a new name “rehabilitation and reform centers.” The state has also taken the path of amending some laws regulating prisons.
The report discussed a number of topics, the most important of which are:
The old prison system
The report clarified that Egyptian prisons have gone through several developments over different eras. All prisons are in order of three degrees, and Law No. 396 of 1956 on the organization of prisons stipulated four types of prisons: lemans, public prisons, central prisons and private prisons. . The report indicated that the latter type of prison did not exist in Egypt.
This old prison system has been subjected to much criticism due to its poor infrastructure; Due to the old age of these prisons, especially in health facilities and in terms of lighting and ventilation. Likewise, Egyptian prisons suffer from insufficient attention to educational activities inside prisons and lack of attention to the quality of education in line with the desired goals.
In addition, Egyptian prisons suffer from defective conditions of detention. This is because prisons, wards and cells are overcrowded with a large number of prisoners in one room without organization; This negatively affects the physical and mental health conditions of the prisoners. These overcrowded prisons serve as a recruiting ground for militant groups on the Islamist jihadist spectrum, with prisoners often having to share their prison locations with supporters of the Islamic State and members of other Islamist militant groups, making it easy for such groups to promote their radical ideology.
How did the Egyptian state improve the prison system?
Since the announcement of the new national strategy for human rights, Egypt has witnessed the development and promotion of human rights in all fields and sectors, especially the Egyptian prison sector. Egypt witnessed the opening of many new prisons developed in the American style. The new prisons aim to provide decent living, respectable medical and human care and provide humane and humane treatment for inmates. The name of the Prisons Authority of the Ministry of Interior was changed to the “Community Protection Sector” instead of the “Prisons Sector,” and the name “Prisoner” was changed to “Inmate”.
Among the positives that are in the interest of the inmate to enjoy decent accommodation, complete health care, and the availability of amenities during the trial, especially in the shadow of court complexes in rehabilitation and reform centers, learning agricultural trades, and reading books.
Necessary legal changes
The report emphasized that to keep pace with the wave of progress and development in the Egyptian prison system, the state worked to amend some laws regulating Egyptian prisons. The last amendments to the Prison Organization Law No. 396 of 1956 were passed and Law No. 6 of 2018.
Law No. 19 of 2020 was issued amending some provisions of Law No. 396 of 1956 regarding the organization of prisons, and Article No. 182 of 1960 in the matter of combating drugs and regulating their use and trafficking, where a new article was added with No. (52 bis).
Finally, the report recommended paying attention to the system of examining convicts, whether from a medical, psychological, mental or social point of view, and this requires that the examination and classification work be carried out by a central body that has a sufficient number of highly qualified specialists.