Europe Committee Flags Cyprus Prison Overcrowding Concerns

**Cyprus Central Prisons Face Scrutiny Over Overcrowding and Detention Conditions**

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has once again turned its attention to Cyprus, this time with a report that underscores the pressing issue of overcrowding in the nation’s Central Prisons. The committee’s findings, which extend to police holding cells and Mental Health Services, reveal significant shortcomings that have prompted state authorities to craft a response by March 18.

Sources from Phileleftheros indicate that the CPT’s observations are not new but rather a continuation of concerns noted over the past fifteen years. The committee has consistently documented the deficiencies arising from overcrowding, which now sees cells designed for one or two inmates housing several more. This has led to compromised detention conditions and strained prison health services.

The CPT has recommended that Cyprus urgently seeks solutions to reduce overcrowding and increase staffing levels in line with the growing prison population. Additionally, the committee has called for the bolstering of medical services, including the appointment of an additional psychologist to support inmates’ mental health needs.

In response to these findings, Deputy Director of Central Prisons, Haris Philipides, acknowledged the issues and expressed a commitment to utilizing the CPT’s recommendations as a catalyst for change. An action plan addressing each recommendation has been developed, with specific timelines set to ensure progress is monitored.

Philipides emphasized that constructive criticism is essential for improvement and assured that measures are underway to not only alleviate overcrowding but also enhance the living conditions for prisoners and create a more conducive environment for staff.

The final report from the Committee is anticipated after the state’s response, which will detail how Cyprus plans to address these critical issues within its detention facilities. The CPT’s recommendations, while not legally binding, are expected to drive significant reforms when integrated with other mechanisms, ultimately obligating the state to implement changes for the betterment of its correctional system.

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released a report highlighting concerns about overcrowding in Cyprus's Central Prisons and deficiencies in detention conditions across prisons, police holding cells, and Mental Health Services

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