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The Minister of Justice and Public Administration Nikola Selaković visited the Belgrade District Prison and the Special Prison Hospital today.

The Minister was accompanied by the Director of Directorate for Execution of Criminal Sanctions, Dr. Milan Stevović.

The reason for this visit is the beginning of reconstruction of single units in the two institutions, respectively, in order to improve living and work conditions and safety, and to align them with the norms laid down in the European Union.

During the visit, Minister Selaković held a meeting with administrators, deputies and heads of services in which he was acquainted with everyday problems, as well as plans for improving the system of execution of prison sentences.

On this occasion, Minister Selaković said that the situation in prisons and in the whole country was extremely difficult. "Economic, social, and any other crisis that befell Serbia in the last two decades has not spared the Directorate for Execution of Criminal Sanctions. When you find yourself in the largest detention facility in the entire Balkan region, that was completed in 1952, and when you realise that in the most part of that facility there have not been any major investments, then you can imagine what the situation is like; firstly, for those who are in custody, then for a smaller number of those who are serving sentences and, very importantly, for those who work in these institutions."

The Minister announced that the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration will soon finish drafting the new Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions. "Our idea is to transform employees in prisons, i.e. members of judicial guard, into judicial police, which has been a tendency in Europe," said Selaković.

The Minister stressed that he was very fortunate and pleased that he had been able to be there at beginning of works on the revitalisation and reorganisation of the two units within the Belgrade District Prison and one unit in the Special Prison Hospital with investments that came directly from the budget of the Republic of Serbia. "The prison system in Serbia used to be designed to produce more than it can take from the budget. In the next few months, we need to bring forward a plan on the basis of which we will once more begin to contribute more, and then both the situation in prisons and for those who work in prisons will be better," said Minister Selaković.