Human rights watchdog again calls for improvement of overcrowding at detention centers

The state human rights watchdog on Monday urged the justice ministry to improve the problem of overcrowding at detention facilities, calling such cramped spaces a violation of human dignity.

An inmate at a detention center in North Gyeongsang Province filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission in October, saying up to eight people were put in a 12-square-meter room for five, leaving less than 2 square meters of floor space per person.

The detention center claimed they do not have the ability to reject the accommodation of additional inmates or control the holding capacity due to its cramped situation.

But the human rights watchdog said the excessively narrow spaces in detention facilities are a violation of human dignity and values, and the right to pursue happiness.

The commission made the recommendation to the justice minister, noting that the fundamental problem lies with the increase in the number of prisoners on trial and the low rate of those released on parole, and not with the ind
ividual facilities.

The rights watchdog has voiced such recommendations on 23 occasions since 2003, but the issue is still far from a resolution due to budget shortages and opposition from locals residing near such facilities.

Source: Yonhap News Agency