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Improving standards in prisons and investigative detention facilities by refurbishment of infrastructure to ensure respect for human rights


Project Facts

Project objective: Overcome challenges connected to growing prison populations and prison overcrowding
Project promoter: General Directorate Executon of Sentences
Type of institution: National agency
Project number: BG15-0002
Target group(s): Prisoners,
Status: Completed
Initial project cost: € 7,058,056
Final project costs: € 7,014,059
From Norway Grants: € 5,961,950
The project is carried out in: Bulgaria

Project partnership(s)

What will the partnership achieve?


Summary of project results


For years the prison sector, including the pre-trial detention facilities, has been subject to underfunding, which has led to poor conditions repeatedly pointed out in the reports of the involved international institutions. The project addressed the need to support the efforts comply with fundamental principles established in the conventions and the recommendations of the Council of Europe and the international standards related with the places of detention which guarantee better conditions of life and work. The intended overall impact was guaranteeing humanity when implementing the sentences and improvement of the possibilities for rehabilitation, decrease of recidivism and improvement of the work conditions for prison staff. Under Output `Refurbished prison estate in line with CPT standards`, in total the reconstruction works took place at 9 sites – prisons, prison hostels, a training centre, medical centres, and kitchen blocks. All the sites are fully operational as of present moment. The technical details of the reconstruction and equipment were consulted by experts of the Council of Europe in terms of conformity with the international standards. The target of 120 inmates of Roma and other minorities benefiting from the improved conditions was overachieved. Under Output `Refurbished IDF in Shoumen` the target values of the indicators were also achieved. The former military premises were reconstructed and currently accommodate the investigation detention facility and the office of the local probation service. The number of 10 inmates of Roma and other minorities benefiting from the improved conditions was achieved on yearly basis. The successful completion of the project largely solved the problem of overcrowding in some of the biggest detention places in Bulgaria. The infrastructure measures have been designed and implemented in strict compliance with the international standards on correctional services and detention, including the Council of Europe’s European Prison Rules, recommendations of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Bilateral results


The bilateral relations have had the shape of formal partnerships and of ad hoc exchange and collaboration. The DPP, the Council of Europe became also a project partner. The Council of Europe has advised and assisted the PP in the process of development of technical specifications and requirements for designing and reconstructing of the facilities. At a later stage the Council of Europe has followed the implementation of the activities to ensure the achievement of relevant standards and best practices. Additionally, a sound cooperation has been established between the PP and the Directorate of the Norwegian Correctional Service (KDI). The operational partnership with the KDI started in the very beginning of the implementation period. The implemented bilateral initiatives has been focused on project related issues. Their contribution was towards assessment of the infrastructure interventions against the applicable standards, increase of the management capacity of the PP, exchange of relevant practices.


The information on this page has been provided by the programme operator.