What should the conditions be in the place of detention?

To evaluate if you are being held according to human rights standards, you should pay attention to such basic conditions as:

  • Are men and women being held separately (unless you are a family)?
  • Is your room big enough for the number of people in it?
  • Is your room clean? 
  • Is it too hot or cold in the room?
  • Do you have a bed, mattress, blanket and bed linen?
  • Do you have free access to a toilet and privacy?
  • Do you have regular access to a shower and hygiene products? 
  • Do you have daylight during the day and lighting after dark?
  • Are you able to go outside for a walk at least once a day?
  • Have you been fed three times a day and given unlimited access to drinking water?

In Estonia, the details and standards of these conditions are explained in regulations of the minister of the interior: Internal Rules of the Detention Centre and Internal rules of the Police Detention House.

What human rights violation may there be?

Being held in inappropriate conditions may be very humiliating and cause physical and psychological suffering. For example, if you are denied food or water, or you do not have a bed or if your room is very dirty. If you suffer these conditions for a longer period or several of them at the same time, it may result in human rights violations. This is called inhumane or degrading treatment

But, the mistreatment has to reach at least a minimum level of severity. When assessing whether you have been held in conditions that are inhumane or degrading, such things as the duration of the bad conditions, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and condition of health would be taken into account. Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.


Last updated 01/05/2019