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HRC official highlights measures to support prisoners and families
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 06 - 2021

Okaz/Saudi Gazette
MADINAH — The Human Rights Commission (HRC) provides a number of support tracks directed specifically to prisoners and their families as part of tasks entrusted to the commission within its terms of reference, said Bandar Al-Hajri, deputy president of the HRC for protection.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette Al-Hajri said that these tasks include receiving complaints from individuals, verifying their authenticity and addressing them, and visiting prisons and detention centers at any time to personally review the conditions of inmates and take measures accordingly.
The commission also works to develop a legislative and procedural structure related to their issues and the mechanisms for dealing with them, and raise the level of awareness of their rights, within the framework of national partnerships with government agencies and non-profit sector institutions, he added.
Al-Hajri also said that the commission is still working, in partnership with a number of authorities, to draft a special law for alternative punishments so as to make it a basic pillar in the reform and integration process, and an important tributary to streamline the energies of those convicted of some crimes in order to make them useful to their society, apart from improving their behavior and enhancing the positive impact of the penalties issued against them.
According to the HRC official, one of the most important tracks that the commission works on is legal and advisory support, and the commission teams focus on visiting prisons and detention centers in various cities and governorates periodically in accordance with work plans that ensure monitoring of the situation and work with the competent authorities to develop them.
The total number of inspection visits undertaken by the commission to prisons and detention centers in the year 2020 reached 1,538 in various cities and governorates across the Kingdom.
"These teams work on the immediate transfer of prisons and detention centers to verify the validity of complaints from prisoners, their families, relatives or their legal representatives prior to verifying and addressing them. The number of complaints received by the commission during the year 2020 reached 4,593, of which 1,193 complaints related to prisoners and detainees, and that account for approximately 26 percent of the total complaints," he said.
According to Al-Hajri, HRC's activities during the last period focused on supporting the development of a number of related work areas, including expanding the scope of health services by relying on virtual clinics, mechanisms for scheduling appointments, and developing health service centers in prisons.
During the visits or through its offices in prisons, field teams of the commission inspect and monitor medical needs of prisoners, and follow up their provision and support its efforts in this aspect, whether with regard to transferring them to other facilities to receive medical care, or bringing their appointments closer, or providing medicines and supplies necessary for them, especially for the elderly, people with disabilities and those who suffer from chronic diseases and other health problems.
On the path of community support for prisoners and their families, the HRC official said that the Commission attaches great importance to developing the system of community integration directed at prisoners, and is still working in partnership with a number of parties on more than one path to developing this system so as to ensure reform, care and evaluation while they were serving prison terms.
During the inspection tours, the commission monitors the conditions of the places designated for training and rehabilitation inside prisons and works with the competent authorities to support these places and benefit from outstanding experiences.
The commission monitored a number of distinguished initiatives launched by the competent authorities, including the opening of a number of training and time management centers, and addiction recovery centers, which help prepare the prisoners to integrate into society.

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