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Psychological evaluation recommended for persons in preventive arrest centers

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The Ombudsman recommends ensuring psychological evaluation upon incarceration of persons in detainment and preventive arrest centers to identify any needs for psychological assistance.

Other recommendations formulated in the special report of the Ombudsman regarding psychological assistance in detainment and preventive arrest centers are: ensuring services of clinical psychology and psychotherapy through psychologists competent in clinical psychology and psychotherapy; employing psychologists or contract the services of psychologists with competence in clinical psychology and psychotherapy that would serve the preventive arrest and detainment centers; the assurance of the authorities that the psychologists are truly independent from the staff of the detainment and preventive arrest centers, for this purpose the Ombudsman considering that serious consideration must be given to a potential transfer of responsibility towards the Health Ministry.

Furthermore, following deficiencies noted in several centers for detainment and preventive arrest, the Ombudsman also proposes in the report: the internment of at least two persons in the detention room for the diminishment of the risk of suicide and for diminishing the feeling of isolation (depending on the case) and to evaluate the suicide risk through specific psychological scales/instruments; increasing the effectiveness of collaboration with psychiatric units in the case of persons with psychiatric diagnosis or with needs in psychiatric evaluation and psychiatric assistance for adults and minors, evaluating and testing persons for drug consumption and ensuring treatment according to the clinical needs of each of them.

The Ombudsman also recommends in the report: increasing the efficiency of the collaboration with the general directorates for social assistance and child protection in the case of minors coming from residential centers; the establishment, within police units, of chambers/sections specially designed for the custody of minors which would be different than those for the custody of adults; redesigning the visiting block and granting the right to minors to have visits without separation devices, in view of diminishing the negative effects of incarceration on the physical, psychic and moral development and also for the case of visiting minors; ensuring permanence in the situations where women are in custody, by designation through order of the inspectorate head of women agents that would ensure security, oversight and transfer.

Adapting at least one room and one washroom to be used by persons with disabilities; ensuring professional training for police workers that would offer basic training regarding the way to approach persons with psychic afflictions and other vulnerable categories (minors, LGBTI, etc.); ensuring that persons incarcerated spend a reasonable part of the day (eight or more hours) outside their rooms, that they are involved in activity of a varied nature (work, with vocational value, education, sport, recreation) represent other recommendations of the Ombudsman.

The report regarding psychological assistance in the preventive arrest and detainment centers was drawn up following the conduct of 51 visits in preventive arrest and detainment centers subordinated to the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police in the 2015-2020 period, reports Agerpres.

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