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S.Korean rights watchdog urges resolution of prison overcrowding

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Seoul, May 31 (Ajit Weekly News) South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday urged the Justice Ministry to take swift measures to relieve overcrowding in prison cells.

The recommendation follows a petition by an inmate of an unidentified detention centre, who complained his time at an overcrowded prison cell infringed upon his human rights, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The Commission’s subsequent probe showed the inmate spent 47 days of his 71-day detention in a cell where the living space per prisoner was 1.9 square metres and another 11 days in a cell whose living space per person stood at 1.52 square metres.

The minimum standard for personal living space for a single-occupancy cell, set by the justice ministry, is 2.58 square metres.

“The detention facility failed to provide the minimum space needed for basic human living conditions as general male adult inmates had to take caution not to bump into other inmates even when they were sleeping,” the Commission noted.

Putting an inmate into a cell more densely populated than the Justice Ministry standards violates the inmate’s rights to maintain human dignity and pursue happiness, as well as personal liberty, it added.

The recommendation is the latest in a series of similar calls the rights watchdog has made over the prison overcrowding issue.

–Ajit Weekly News

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