Enforcement of custodial sentences
Individuals sentenced to imprisonment for up to six months are referred to prisons closest to their place of residence or, in case of longer imprisonment, they are first referred to the Diagnostic Centre in ZagrebThe purpose of enforcing a custodial sentence is to train the inmates to live in accordance with the law and social rules while respecting the person's dignity and ensuring humane treatment of individuals during imprisonment.
A custodial sentence is carried out in prisons and penitentiaries, which constitute special organisational units of the Ministry of Justice – Prison System and Probation Administration.
At the Diagnostic Centre in Zagreb, inmates are medically, socially, psychologically, pedagogically and criminologically processed in order to be classified. A proposal of an individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement is adopted, and the penal facility where the inmate will continue their imprisonment is proposed.
The enforcement of custodial sentences falls within the competence and scope of activities of the Ministry of Justice and the enforcing judge.
Custodial sentencingCustodial sentencing falls within the competence of the enforcing judge of the competent County Court.
A person sentenced to imprisonment for up to six months or a person whose remaining portion of the sentence is up to six months will be referred by the enforcing judge to imprisonment in a prison closest to their place of residence.
A person sentenced to imprisonment for a term longer than six months or a person whose remaining portion of the sentence is more than six months will be referred by the enforcing judge to the Diagnostic Centre in Zagreb for medical, social, psychological, pedagogical and criminological processing of the inmate.
On average, inmates stay at the Diagnostic Centre in Zagreb for four weeks and, based on their processing, they are classified. A proposal of an individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement is adopted, and the penal facility where the inmate will continue their imprisonment is proposed.
The Central Office of the Penal System and Probation Administration issues a decision on the penal facility (closed, semi-open or open conditions) where the inmate will continue their imprisonment.
VisitationVisitation in penitentiaries is organised in accordance with the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences, the Ordinance on Inmate Privileges, the Penitentiary House Rules, and the Daily Activity Schedule.
Visitation of inmates in detention is organised in accordance with the Ordinance on House Rules for Detention Centres and the visitation of inmates in accordance with the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences, Detention Centre House Rules and the Daily Activity Schedule.
Inmates serving their sentence in a penitentiary can be visited by members of the family and other individuals, with the approval of the penitentiary warden, in accordance with the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences.
Inmates serving their sentence in prison and individuals sentenced for misdemeanour can be visited by family members and other individuals, with the approval of the prison warden.
Detainees and individuals in detention for misdemeanour can be visited only by individuals who have the approval of the investigating judge or the presiding judge.
Packages and moneyOnce a month and on public holidays, the inmate has the right to receive a package with permitted items from their family, upon approval from the warden and one other person. The inmates are not permitted to receive money directly from the visitors or in letters, but they can receive and send money through the penitentiary or the prison.
Packages with permitted items can be submitted during visitation or sent by mail. The package must contain a list of contents by type and quantity, also indicating the full name of the inmate for whom it is intended.
If, during an inspection, items that are not permitted are discovered in the package, they will be confiscated with a certificate.
All other information relevant for imprisoned individuals – from the protection of their rights, transfer, to conditional release – can be found in the brochure Inmate Handbook under Additional Information.
Imprisonment of foreign nationals in CroatiaIn accordance with the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences, foreign nationals imprisoned in Croatia have the same rights as imprisoned Croatian citizens.
Foreign inmates in Croatia:
- serving their term of imprisonment
- in detention
- sentenced for misdemeanour
- undergoing a transfer
- detained for extradition
After admitting the inmate – foreign national to a penal facility, the prison or the penitentiary immediately notifies the competent consular representative through the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
Treatment programmes for inmates and minorsThe Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences is primarily rehabilitational, and the individualisation of a sentence is achieved through an individual sentence programme that covers general and special treatment programmes.
Various activities are organised in penitentiaries and prisons through which inmate achievements are assessed in specific segments, and the performance of an individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement is evaluated (IPCSE).
General treatment programmes are carried out through occupational activities, organised spending of free time and inmate education. General treatment programmes apply to all inmates.
Individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement (IPCSE)The fulfilment of the purpose of the custodial sentence enforcement described in the introduction implies that the enforcement of custodial sentences is based on a rehabilitational approach, which assumes the individualisation of a sentence through an individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement and a number of specialised treatment programmes for selected groups of inmates.
An individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement (IPCSE) is:
- prepared individually for each inmate in accordance with their treatment needs, obligations, responsibilities and risk level;
- consists of pedagogic, work-related, medical, psychological, social and safety procedures, appropriate for the traits and needs of each inmate and the capacities of the penal facility;
- prepared in the admissions departments of penal facilities, taking into consideration the proposal from the Diagnostic Centre in Zagreb and the capacities of the penal facility within 30 days of imprisonment;
- adopted by the warden upon the proposal from the expert team of the penal facility.
- admitting the inmate to the ward;
- work (occupational activities);
- use of free time;
- special procedures (mandatory treatment for addiction, social, psychological and psychiatric assistance, group and individual work);
- connection with the outside world;
- privileges (inside and outside the penal facility);
- special security measures;
- release preparation programme and assistance after release.
Special treatment programmes and educational development programmesSpecial treatment programmes are applied according to specific inmate groups (drug addicts, alcoholics, violent delinquents, sexual delinquents, etc.), aiming to reduce the risk of recidivism through mitigation and the removal of dynamic criminogenic factors. These programmes are prescribed for inmates and minors within the individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement, i.e. individual treatment programme, depending on the assessment of their criminogenic risks and treatment needs.
Penal System and Probation Administration aims that penal facilities, apart from special programmes tied to specific criminogenic factors, design programmes that are not focused on the correction of behaviour with regard to the criminal offence, but which offer inmates an opportunity to learn something new and acquire different skills, independent of their criminogenic risks and needs. These programmes are focused on solving specific problems or improving the quality of life and interpersonal relations. They do not have to be implemented continuously, but they aim to facilitate the participation of interested inmates in accordance with their assessed needs.
At the moment, the following special programmes for inmate treatment are implemented in penitentiaries, prisons and correctional facilities:
- Treatment for drug addicts:
- a programme modelled on the modified therapeutic community, i.e., drug addiction recovery groups (DARG);
- a programme called “Prevention of addict recidivism through training and empowerment” (PARTTE)
- Treatment for alcoholics:
- a programme modelled on the modified therapeutic community, i.e., recovery groups for alcoholics (RGA)
- a programme called “Basic treatment programme for individuals with alcohol-related disorders” (TIARD)
- Treatment for perpetrators of violent offences:
- ART programme (“Aggression Replacement Training”)
- a programme for the psychosocial treatment of violent perpetrators called “NAS”
- Treatment for perpetrators of sexual offences: a programme called “Prevention of recidivism and impulse control” (PRIC)
- Treatment of inmates who committed criminal traffic offences
- Social skills training called: “Internal empowerment” – Social Skills Training (IE-SST)
- Pilot programme Psychosocial treatment for gambling addicts
- “Inmate as a parent”
- “Driver – traffic safety factor”.
Prison labourWorking-age inmates have the right to work in accordance with their abilities and the capacities of the penitentiary or prison.
Taking into consideration the health status, acquired knowledge and skills of inmates, the success of an individual programme, the security assessment and demonstrated genuine interest for work, the objective is to allocate work to as many inmates as possible, in accordance with the capacities of the prison/penitentiary.
Prison labour is mostly organised in workshops within penitentiaries and prisons. There, inmates process wood and metal, work in hospitality, agriculture, maintenance, excavate gravel, sand and rock, manufacture concrete products, etc. Inmates in penitentiaries and prisons also carry out ancillary and technical tasks, such as cleaning the premises of the penitentiary/prison, washing vehicles, painting, ancillary work in the laundry room, kitchen, storage, prison workshop, etc.
In accordance with the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences, inmates can be employed by another employer outside the penitentiary/prison, and it is also possible for them to be allowed to continue their own business and other activity. Outside the penitentiary/prison, inmates most commonly carry out ancillary work in the timber industry, construction, landscaping, loading-unloading, agriculture, etc.
An inmate has the right to work if they choose to do so, but occupational work is not an obligation. While employed, the inmate has the right to remuneration and annual leave.
Education of inmates and minorsLiteracy classes and education of inmates and minors are activities carried out within general treatment programmes, facilitating better integration of inmates and minors into society, increasing their employability and reducing recidivism.
During imprisonment, inmates have the right to an education. The type and form of education are defined in the individual programme of custodial sentence enforcement and depend on the abilities and affinities of inmates, the duration of imprisonment, and other circumstances significant for fulfilling the purpose of imprisonment and the capacity of the penitentiary or prison.
In accordance with its capacity, the penitentiary or prison organises basic and vocational education, as well as the acquiring of additional working skills for inmates. Education is organised in the penitentiary or prison and outside the penitentiary or prison, in accordance with general regulations.
The penitentiary or prison organises primary schooling for up to 21 years of age for inmates who have not completed primary school. Literacy classes are organised for illiterate inmates regardless of their age.
After finishing their education or a part of education, the inmate is given a certificate that must not show that they were educated in a penitentiary or a prison.
The inmate can be provided with higher levels of education at their own cost if the education programme can comply with the safety requirements.
Free timeDuring the inmates’ and minors’ free time and within their interests, and taking into consideration the capacity of penitentiaries, prisons and correctional facilities, various sports and recreational, as well as cultural activities are organised. Throughout the year, penal facilities organise concerts, plays, art exhibitions, music programmes, as well as lectures and panels on current sports and other events.
Also, throughout the year, inmates and minors can participate in various groups, such as the literary and journalism group, the IT group, the art group, the music group, and the sports groups (football, basketball, table tennis, and chess). Various workshops are organised in cooperation with non-profit organisations, where inmates can learn more about creative writing, animated movie-making or preparing theatrical plays.
Most of the sports activities and tournaments are organised within the penal facilities, but cooperation with local sports clubs is also encouraged. The objective of such cooperation is to encourage inmates and minors to actively participate in the process of custodial sentence enforcement, maintain contact with the outside world, prepare them for their release, and familiarise the local community with the inmate population and reduce/remove prejudice against them.
Pastoral care and religion
Religion and pastoral care for the most represented religious communities have been regulated with agreements on pastoral care that an individual religious community signed with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, based on international treaties and the Act on the Enforcement of Custodial Sentences (such an agreement is currently in force for inmates and minors belonging to the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim religious communities). For other religious communities (registered in the Religious Community Register managed by the Ministry of Justice and Administration), the interested inmate or minor is allowed contact with a representative appointed by the religious community.
During highly celebrated Roman Catholic holidays and holidays of other religious groups, special attention is given to religious needs of inmates and minors, and celebrations of the Holy Mass and spiritual meetings are organised, often led by prominent dignitaries.