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Prisoners working on motorway construction – further developments

In January, the HFHR addressed the Ministry of Justice in relation to a news article on “lending out” prisoners as workforce at the construction site of a junction of A2 motorway.

The Ministry ordered a review of contracts concluded by prisons in respect of prisoners’ employment and the prisoners concerned were paid for their work. However, as it appears there is more to the story. Disciplinary proceedings have been taken against two prison governors, even though they had not been involved in “lending out” the inmates.

The proceedings were instituted against the governors of the Prisons in Łowicz and Garbalin. The HFHR has accessed the documents that suggest the men had no say on the entering into contracts for the gratuitous work of inmates on motorway construction. Each time, the information about the case was sent to the prison governors by the Head of Circuit Inspectorate of Prison Service in Łódź or his appointees.

“What is more, the governor of the Garbalin prison personally informed the Circuit Inspectorate of Prison Service in Łódź that his facility had not executed necessary agreements with local government”, reads another HFHR’s statement to the Ministry.

The documents accessed by the HFHR also suggest that both governors were likely to assume that all material issues concerning the employment of prisoners had been agreed on by the Circuit Inspectorate of Prison Service in Łódź.

“It is hard to blame the officers of the Prison Service of Garbalin and Łowicz prisons that they acted in obedience to the orders of their supervisors. The question remains whether the persons responsible for delegating inmates to work for the construction company should be held liable for their actions”, the statement reads.

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