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Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Oversight and Transparency in the Israeli Penal System, August 2008

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Oversight and Transparency in the Israeli Penal System, August 2008

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Published by PHR Israel
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has published a report on mechanisms of transparency and supervision in the Israeli Prisons Service.The purpose of this report is to call attention to the fact that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) operates far from the public eye, without appropriate external supervision, in particular with regard to prisoners’ access to medical services, and the quality of these services.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has published a report on mechanisms of transparency and supervision in the Israeli Prisons Service.The purpose of this report is to call attention to the fact that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) operates far from the public eye, without appropriate external supervision, in particular with regard to prisoners’ access to medical services, and the quality of these services.

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Published by: PHR Israel on Nov 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/09/2013

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Oversight and Transparency inthe Israeli Penal System
July, 2008
Research and Writing:
Anat Litvin
 
Niv MichaeliGila Zelikovitz
Editing:
Hadas Ziv
Translation from Hebrew
: Charles S. Kamen
English Editing:
Miri Weingarten
 
 
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Contents
Introduction
3
Mechanisms for dealing with prisoners'
1
complaints,and systemic faults in these mechanisms in Israel
7
 
Prisoner petitions 7Petitions to the Prison Director and to the Prisons' Commissioner 9Petitions to the Israeli Police/National Unit for Investigating Prison Staff (NUIPS) 10Petitions to the Ombudsman in the Ministry of Public Security 11Petitions to the Ombudsman in the Office of the State Comptroller 13Petitions to Official Visitors 13The Ministry of Health Ombudsman 13Appeals to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel 16
Prison Service External Oversight Mechanisms:Theory vs. Practice
18External oversight of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) 18Problems with external oversight of IPS 19Transparency regarding health 23
Efforts by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel toensure external oversight over implementation of theRight to Health behind prison bars.
27
The costs of concealment
32Failures in the Israel Prison Service Health System - Systemic failures 33Failures in the Prison Service Health System - individual cases 40
It could be different – Transparency in other countries
43
Recommendations
50
Responses
52
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The term prisoner is used in this context to denote persons held by the Israel Prison Service. Whennot quoting Israeli legislation, the more general term "inmate" is employed.
 
 
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Introduction
The common opinion of human rights organizations, as well as that of manyorganizations throughout the world responsible for jails and prisons, is that the mosteffective way of ensuring inmates' rights, appropriate conditions of incarceration andaccess to medical treatment involves increased transparency of jails and prisons,oversight by external authorities and availability to inmates of effective mechanismsfor complaining about prison conditions.The idea of external oversight has become a reality in many European countries.The Council of Europe has adopted the European Convention for the Prevention ofTorture (ECPT), and has created a body that oversees European prisons. TheConvention has established the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture(CPT), which conducts unannounced visits to all prison facilities in member states ofthe European Union.When the United Nations adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention AgainstTorture (OPCAT), the idea of external oversight received international recognition.The innovative nature of the Optional Protocol, which went into effect on 22 July2006, is expressed by its dual system of visits, in which both an international bodyand state-level control mechanisms are involved in oversight of prison administration.International oversight is conducted by the Sub-committee on the Prevention ofTorture (SPT) of the United Nations. In addition, each European Union member stateobligates itself to create one or more oversight bodies that will operate as NationalPreventive Mechansims (NPMs).European Union member states have a certain degree of freedom regarding thenature and the structure of their oversight mechanisms so long as their mandate, thetools at their disposal and their areas of responsibility meet the criteria specified bythe Optional Protocol. Independence and freedom of action are critical in this respect,and member states must ensure that national oversight bodies enjoy this freedomand independence. National oversight committee members and staff must be freeboth personally and organizationally from any dependence on governmentinstitutions. They must also be financially independent.
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From the report of the International Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT):"Visiting places of detention – What role for physicians and other
health professionals?”http://www.apt.ch/component/option,com_docman/task,cat_view/gid,121/Itemid,59/lang,en/
 

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