Parallel to the judicial route, the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) has pursued administratively the case of discrimination in the treatment of convicts and detainees with regard to their rights as employees. AHC or state or non-state bodies, domestic or foreign, have found that in spite of the high number of 619 prisoners who work, they are not treated by the prison administration the same as other citizens who are free, in accordance with labor legislation or legislation for the treatment of imprisoned persons (for rights such as security at work, length of labor, compensation for labor, days off, etc.).
Imprisoned persons who do various jobs in the prison should be rewarded by a minimal wage, according to criteria established by special decision of the Council of Ministers, as they are considered ‘employees’ and should be treated as such.
In spite of different administrative and judicial practices regarding benefit from work, whereby still part of convicted persons working in prisons are rewarded with 90 (ninety) Lek/month, while most of the convicts working in various jobs in prisons benefit sentence reduction of about 3.9 days for every month of work, none of them benefits a minimal wage or social protection as employees.
The General Directory of Prisons and the Ministry of Justice have undertaken some legal initiatives for the approval of the decision of the Council of Ministers, but finalization has not been reached yet.
Set in motion by AHC on this years-old problem, on 10.04.2018, the Commissioner for Protection against Discrimination announced Decision no. 100, dated 05.04.2018, in which it admitted that the convicts and detainees working in the prison system have been discriminated directly by the General Directory of Prisons, due to their social status as convicts, in the field of employment, compared to other workers who are free. By means of this decision, the Commissioner decided that the GDP, Ministry of Justice and the Council of Ministers should undertake the measures recommended previously by this institution, for changes and specifications regarding the approval of the special CMD, for this purpose, and within 30 days these institutions are to inform the Commissioner about the measures they have undertaken.
This case is pursued in the context of the project “Improving the human rights situation in Albania, through strengthening the rule of law” (Legal Clinic XII), with financial support from Civil Rights Defenders.