Prison Conditions in Spain

Helsinki Watch urges the Spanish government to end its secretive policy with respect to prisons and describes problems ranging from overcrowding and periodic violence to forced idleness for inmates and very limited visiting privileges for a significant group of prisoners. The report also calls on the Spanish prison administration to observe the Spanish Penitentiary Law which, though a source of pride for many politicians and officials, is largely ignored in practice. Based on dozens of interviews with inmates, prisoners' rights advocates, lawyers, relatives of inmates, officials and others, the report describes the difficulties Helsinki Watch encountered in securing access to prisons and the attempted reprisals against a judge who allowed the delegation to visit a prison despite a governmental objection.

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