Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Penal System Discriminates Women

Society | February 2, 2016, Tuesday // 17:53
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Penal System Discriminates Women It wasn't until March of 2014 that a medical center with a creche was inaugurated at the Sliven jail. File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian penalty legislation concerning imprisoned female criminals should be reformed to fit international standards for the protection of human rights, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), announced on Tuesday.

The BHC's new report, Women in Prison, shows that prisons in Bulgaria provide equal treatment for men and women, which leads to discrimination of imprisoned women.

According to the BHC, the penal system in Bulgaria does not consider the specific needs of women in prisons.

The organisation notes that the current system is discriminatory against pregnant women and women who raise their children in prison. The accommodations in the only female prison in Bulgaria, in the Southeastern town of Sliven, are not favourable towards women who are taking care of their children while in prison, BHC's report informs.

Another issue is that imprisoned women lack contact with their children, which impairs their parental rights, leading to a major infringement of women rights, BHC announced.

BHC data shows that as of July, 2015, 93 imprisoned women are mothers of children under the age of 18, while the only female prison in Bulgaria has traced 58 pregnancies for the period 2011-2014. In 35% of the cases, children have been taken out of the prison and accommodated in the houses of relatives, foster families or social homes.

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Tags: prison, BHC, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Sliven, women, female
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