The European Union and the Council of Europe continue to support the introduction of an electronic system for collecting, storing and exchanging prison-related data in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The new hardware equipment donated through the joint EU/CoE programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022” will provide a major boost to the effective management of prisons by helping prison managers and staff use accurate and updated information that is necessary to their daily work with prisoners.
Ministry of Justice officials were provided with high-quality computer hardware equipment, which will be delivered to prison establishments and the Government’s data centre, thereby enabling electronic networking with other criminal justice agencies.
”Introduction of Information Technology in the Sector for execution of criminal sanctions and Federal Ministry of Justice is an important step towards implementation of recommendations provided by international organisations and monitoring bodies, aimed at aligning prison systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina closer to the European standards and contemporary penological practices. Electronic exhange of data with individual prisons and their communication with respective Ministries of Justice will significantly facilitate treatment and recording of data related to prisoners and detainees. Federal Ministry of Justice would like to thank both action partners for this donation. It is looking forward to continuing co-operation in the implementation of this action”, said Mato Jozić, Federal Minister of Justice.
Nicolas Bizel, Head of Operations Section for Justice and Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform in the EU Delegation to BiH, stressed the EU’s continuous and manifold support to improving the country’s capacities in the area of execution of criminal sanctions.
“Prisons, as integral part of any country’s justice system, ensure that offenders are brought to justice and sanctions are delivered. In the time of digitalisation, creating DATA CENTREs to service entity Ministries of Justice and help establish electronic archive is an important contribution to overall reinforcement of the rule of law in the country. This is direct and concrete support to decision makers in dealing with organised and economic crimes, corruption and all other crimes,” Bizel said.
Bojana Urumova, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo highlighted the importance of respecting rights of persons deprived of liberty in line with European standards. ”We are glad that we could contribute to the introduction of a system for the collection of prison data, which corresponds to recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The essence of our technical co-operation projects is to help member states like Bosnia and Herzegovina align their policy and practice, in this case in the field of promoting humane and socially effective penal sanctions, with Council of Europe standards“, she said.
The total value of the hardware equipment and software licenses procured to date amounts to 175 000 EUR. Part of the equipment, valued at approximately 60 000 EUR, was procured under Horizontal Facility Phase I in May 2019. That initial package contained desktops for prison staff, printers and scanners.
The IT equipment is intended to support electronic exchange of prison-related data between the front-line prison staff (officers in direct contact with prisoners) providing treatment and security to inmates but also between the staff and prison managers who oversee functioning of prisons. By linking individual prison establishments with senior policy makers in the Ministries of Justice, various submissions from prisoners and prison staff will be exchanged in a quicker and more reliable manner.
Various software modules will also be developed separately, and the overall software solutions will be able to support the work of each of the services of the respective prisons: treatment, security, health care and administration.
This initiative is part of the joint European Union and the Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkan and Turkey II” and its action “Strengthening human rights treatment of detainees based on European standards and best practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina“, implemented by the Council of Europe.
The second phase of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey” programme is funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe in the amount of €41 million. It is conducted between 2019 and 2022 and builds on the results of the first phase and will continue to develop important initiatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in all the Western Balkans Beneficiaries including Albania, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia as well as Turkey. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, five actions are covering the key areas of the Horizontal Facility: ensuring justice, combating discrimination and protecting rights of vulnerable groups, ensuring quality education for all, as well as freedom of expression and freedom of the media.