Detention issue

Sanitary conditions

FRA research findings

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Legal instruments & key provisions

Legal instrument Key provision
Executive Penal Code (Ustawa z dnia 6 czerwca 1997 r. Kodeks karny wykonawczy)The cells in closed units have to be equipped with sanitary facilities. In practice, most of the cells are equipped with sanitary annexes. Toilets are lacking only in units located in old buildings and in those cells that were set up in former common rooms, infirmaries and utility rooms. Sanitary annexes generally contain a washbasin and a toilet, however, in some cells washbasins are placed outside the sanitary annex. In each cell, there should be at least one bowl for at least 4 prisoners. Each prisoner must be given certain required hygienic products each month. The standard for access to warm water differs depending on the sex of prisoners. A female prisoner has to be provided with daily access to warm water (at least once per day). Male prisoners do not have to be provided with such a level of access.


Year Recommendation Report
2016Whenever the cell is equipped with sanitary facilities, they have to be placed in a way that guarantees that using them will not be embarrassing for the prisoner. For this reason, the NPM recommends that all visited units guarantee that sanitary annexes are fully partitioned and separated from the rest of the cell. During their visits to penitentiary units, they paid particular attention to single cells in which the sanitary annex was not covered at all. As a result, it was possible to observe prisoners using a toilet through CCTV system or via the hole in cell doors. Secondly, the NPM called upon the authorities of 8 out of 20 visited penitentiary units to introduce curtains separating prisoners taking baths in the bathrooms. Report details
2017The NPM pointed out that prisoners’ access to toilets may also differ depending on the number of people held in a cell. In practice, a prisoner placed in a cell designed for two persons has easier access to a toilet than a prisoner who is held in a cell designed for a dozen of prisoners. According to the NPM, equipping such cells with only one toilet makes it impossible for prisoners to use them at any time and contributes to conflicts between prisoners. Further, the NPM indicated that, in most of the visited units, prisoners had a possibility of taking baths two times a week or even every day which is in line with the Constitution. Report details
2019In some penitentiary facilities sinks in cells were located outside a toilet zone without any separator from the remaining part of the cell. (…) According to the Commissioner for Human Rights, in the cells in which a sink is located outside a separated toilet zone and it is the only device of that type in a cell, intimacy of inmates who want to wash themselves is not ensured. Report details