Situation of prisons in Lebanon
Prisons in the Middle East and North Africa region were characterized by lawlessness, lack of health conditions and lack of services. They became a penal institution rather than a correctional institution for the rehabilitation of prisoners for social life. There is no reform within the prisons in Lebanon, and anyone who enters the prison is more deviant because of the mixing of criminals with offenders, which leads to the prisoner gaining knowledge of all types of crimes and misdemeanors. Most prisoners return to prison after release.
Violations of prisoners ‘rights:
According to the information, there are 25 prisons on Lebanese territory, including 19 for men and 4 for women, one for juveniles and one for minors, all suffering from overcrowding. The basic capacity is 2526, while the maximum capacity must not exceed 3,960, today it is 6966, That’s more than the 141 percent average overcrowding among Lebanese prisons, which range from 222 percent down to 17 percent above maximum capacity.
These problems are compounded by the slow pace of trials, the confusion and lack of classification of prisoners, the lack of adequate health care, the lack of an environment suitable to personal and public health, the dearth of educational, social and economic activities and the difficulty of conducting visits.
Prisons also suffer “from a rise in the number of non-sentenced detainees relative to those sentenced, as some detainees may spend years in prison to find their innocence after sentencing.
There is a weakness in the provision of legal advice by associations authorized to enter the prison, where a significant number of detainees need to have counsel to resolve their legal status, as well as the need for cash assistance to pay fines and guarantees, otherwise, prisoners are forced to stay in custody, in exchange of not paying the fines.
Judges rarely exercise judicial supervision within prisons, except in cases of hunger strikes or suicide attempts, and there is a lack of legal aid, which consists of bleaching the judicial record of released prisoners and appointing a lawyer for each prisoner if he is not available.
In addition to all these problems, the infrastructure within the prisons is flouted and funds allocated for its rehabilitation are scarce, with prisoners often processing the prisons from their own funds. Prisons in Lebanon generally suffer from a lack of basic services and hygiene conditions, making prisoners vulnerable to skin diseases and epidemics.
The drug trade is rampant in prisons, and it is difficult to combat. Most prisoners repeat crimes after leaving prison.
The spread of the Corona epidemic in most Lebanese prisons has further exacerbated the situation of prisoners suffering from overcrowding, low ventilation and outbreaks of skin and thoracic diseases.
International bodies and humanitarian associations have called for an acceleration of trials and the promulgation of the Amnesty Law. However, the political mismatch in Lebanon between the parliamentary blocs representing the traditional political class has prevented the Amnesty Law from seeing the light putting prisoners’ lives in line with the “sectarian-political” consensus.
Prisoners’ testimony highlights the repercussions of the economic financial crisis, which has reached prisons to create a new dilemma in addition to other problems in terms of overcrowding and poor services. Noting that the problem of the quantity and quality of prisoners’ food had begun with the worsening economic crisis, he noted that, after having had chicken meals twice a week, that proportion had declined to once every six weeks, stressing that there had been no meat in food for months. He explained that because prisoners’ relatives were not allowed to enter food after the spread of the Corona virus, they were obliged to purchase their belongings from the prison shop, which had significantly increased its prices.
It was also reported that some philanthropists had recently provided food rations to prisoners, asking human rights organizations to move and work to help prisoners in Lebanon.
In Lebanon, prisons and correctional institutions have seen numerous sit-ins and rioting by prisoners to demand sterilization of places of detention and appropriate preventive action.
In conclusion, the lesson remains for everyone to assume their responsibilities. The situation cannot continue, and prisoners’ rights are grossly violated without significant action to alleviate their suffering.
Prisons “require special State budgets to rehabilitate them, ensure the necessary means of prevention, pursue reform policies and give them the necessary attention. Other official departments, in particular the Ministry of Justice, which, according to law, is also supposed to be competent to deal with the case, through correspondence that a competent judge should be sent periodically to inspect prisoners and examine their legal and judicial status. The Ministry of Health is also required to provide medical doctors and nurses with the modest medical body in prisons necessary to ensure proper medical care for prisoners, as well as to coordinate with the Ministry of Social Affairs in order to exercise its role and monitor the work of the competent associations in order to improve the deteriorating situation.