Major problems at Netherlands' prison hospital: report

There are major problems at prison hospital JCvSZ in Scheveningen. The medical disciplinary committee received multiple complaints, the hospital received internal warnings about hygiene, and prisoners have taken to writing letters about their treatment. "Of course we are all prisoners, but this is not human", one detainee wrote, De Gelderlander reports.

In open letters, five detainees in JCvSZ complain about poor medical supervision, receiving incorrect medication, black mold on the walls, and a lack of activities. "We are sometimes under lock and key for 23 hours a day."

The regional medical disciplinary committee received several complaints about the hospital. One detainee complained about his medical supervision, after which an independent doctor diagnosed him with malnutrition. The doctor called the hospital the worst institution she had ever visited, according to De Gelderlander. 

Internal documents, in the newspaper's possession, confirm that hygiene at the prison hospital is a major problem. After a cell inspection in December, a manager noted that the cell is "neglected and unhygienic". He said that the hospital "sometimes looks like a pigsty". 

Lawyer Esther Blok, who has a client in JCvSZ, confirmed this to the newspaper. "It is just dirty. There is mold on the shower, on the walls, the ceiling. It is dangerous: anyone with an open wound risks an infection", she said. "It does not have to be a luxury clinic in Scheveningen, but everyone has the right to good medical care. Detainees are dependent on the care they receive there. They can not even switch doctors."

In a response to the newspaper, the Ministry of Justice and Security denied the complaints. After recommendations from the Healthcare Inspectorate last year, the hygiene at the hospital was improved and is now "in order", the Ministry said, according to De Gelderlander. The prisoners have enough activities to do and only stay locked up for 23 hours a day "if the situation requires it". Medication provision is also in order, according to Inspectorate checks, the Ministry said.