Updated on 9 November 2020
At the moment due to “second wave” and quarantine throughout the nation there are no visits in the prison facilities at the Israel Prison Service. We keep the video phone calls so that the inmates can stay in touch with their families.
As of March 20, due to the Corona virus we had to take immediate actions in order to reduce the risk of the Corona virus from entering our facilities and to disconnect physical contact between inmates and visitors from the community.
Due to the fact that there are some rights that should be giving to inmates and detainees by law, we had to make Legislative Amendments especially regarding taking detainees to court and giving them the right to see their lawyers in prison for professional consult.
Since the state was in emergency situation we used the Emergency Regulation which are part of the law. Through that the detainees court hearing was through videos and technological system. This also gave has the possibility to block the entrance of visitors and lawyers to the facilities.
But we could have used the Emergency Regulation for 3 months only.
In June, after 3 months, we continued the situation described above by using Time Provisions that we were done by the authority of the Justice Minister and the Internal Security Minister – instead of the Emergency Regulation. Both ministers declared on partial restriction on bringing the inmates and detainees to court. Some are going physically to court and some are having court hearing through technological devices. As of now, legally we are working according to that.
In regard to benefits that inmates have which are not obligatory by law (such as visitation, vacations etc.),our Commissioner has the authority to decide on that according to the state situation with the Corona and the limitation that are imposed on the general population.
Mobile phone at the Israeli Prisons are not allowed.
To add to that I would like to say that there are many attempts from prisoners to try and smuggle cellphone to the prison facilities through visitation.
we did not have any organized training or special activities related to Covid-19.
We did post a lot of information for staff and inmates about the ways to behave in order to reduce the risk of getting sick such as: the impotence of wearing mask, keep distance, wash hands etc.
We are doing inquiry and debriefing foe every case of inmate / staff infection and sharing the information and the conclusion through all the staff
For any further questions regarding the procedures in the state of emergency taken by the Directorate General of Israel Prison Service please contact the following:
Orit Shohat Mandel
Israel Prison Service