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The National Human Rights Commission of Korea Calls for Action on Inhumane Prison Overcrowding
Date : 2024.04.22 11:01:57 Hits : 238

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea Calls for Action on Inhumane Prison Overcrowding

 

Recommendations to the Minister of Justice on Prison Overcrowding


On February 26, 2024, the National Human Rights Commission of Kroea (NHRCK) recommended to the Minister of Justice that overcrowding of prisoners constitutes inhuman treatment that violates human dignity and that the government take measures to prevent overcrowding in Prison A (hereinafter referred to as the Respondent Institution).

 

The complaint was filed by an inmate who was held in a severely overcrowded cell. The complaint alleged that the cramped conditions violated the inmate's fundamental human rights.

 

The Director of Prison A (the "Respondent") responded that the complainant's claim that his human rights were violated due to overcrowding was a one-sided allegation, as the institution could not systematically refuse to accept prisoners or artificially control the number of prisoners, and the complainant did not specifically prove or allege that he suffered any mental or physical harm as a result of overcrowding.

 

The NHRCK Committee on Human Rights Violations2 noted that the living area in which the complainant was held for 119 days was a maximum of 2.41 square meters per person. If the living space per person is so small that it is difficult to live even according to basic human needs, it is already considered treatment that exceeds the limits of the exercise of the State's punitive power, which is contrary to the right to have dignity and value as a human being and to pursue happiness guaranteed by Article 10 of the Constitution.

 

However, the NHRCK believes that the overcrowding of the respondent institutions is not only a problem of individual correctional facilities, but has its roots in the criminal justice policy and social environment related to the national budget and site selection, including the increase in pretrial detention, the passive operation of the parole system, and the difficulty in expanding and operating correctional facilities.

 

Therefore, the NHRCK called for government and societal attention to improve overcrowding in correctional facilities in general and recommended that the Minister of Justice prepare a plan to improve overcrowding in correctional facilities.

 

 


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