A normal day in custody

How does it work after coming to the institute?

It all starts in the PTD – pre-trial detention cell. Seriously, this is probably the most difficult introduction of the whole process.

You usually wait two days in the named PTD, where you do not know what time it is, whether it is morning, night or day and you have no access to anything (information,…), you get info only when you are visited there by a lawyer. The light in the cell is on all the time, so you are disoriented. You may find yourself in a PTD outside your county when they transfer you from place to place because there are no free PTDs in your place of residence. You receive food in the PTD 3 times a day.

After the last statement of the court where the custody will be imposed on your person, the following happens:

Your person is transferred to the Detention Centre, which is determined by the court, mostly on the recommendation of the prosecutor.

At the Detention Centre in question, you will be picked up by people from the PJGC (Prison and Judicial Guard Corps), who will take you and check you out. They will take away all your personal belongings because you must enter the institution with nothing – they will take your clothes, mobile phone, watch, documents, shoes, finances,… It is good to have some money with you when they arrest you, as you would go into custody with some finances that they will credit directly to your bank account at the Detention Centre and you can operate directly without waiting for your family to send you any funds.

PJGC will dress you up in a prison suit, and you will be given a package – personal things wrapped in a blanket in the shape of an onion, where you have everything for life in the institute (artificial cup, artificial plate, cutlery (spoon), 2x toilet paper (hard as emery), soap, brush, paste, socks, shorts, shirts, pyjamas,…, bed linen – 2x blanket, bed sheet, bed linen for a blanket – quilt, bed linen for “pillow”.

In the covid era, quarantine is applied first, where you wait 5-10 days (according to the regulations of individual institutes) for a test so that you can enter the custody regime. This regime of detention means at least some “free” movement, communication, in short, it is not torture as in PTD.

There was no quarantine before coronavirus at the time of entering prison, according to your detention (A, B, C) and according to PARAGRAPH, you were placed in a cell you were sent to.

At check-in, you report whether you are a smoker or not. Non-smokers and smokers cannot be in a cell together (Recommendation: it is better to say that you are a non-smoker if you are not interested in getting to the cell with dangerous individuals).

You don’t choose your roommates, you never know with whom you will be in your cell. It’s something you have to be prepared for, you are not in the camp… You will be surprised by everything and everyone there.

Usually, 2-4 people are placed in the cell, there are different rules in each institute, but outside the Bratislava region they will place you in the single cell only on your request, i.e. on your signature that you want to be alone in the cell. This is not the case at the Detention Centre Bratislava, you will find yourself in the single cell anyway.

At the end of the quarantine, the PJGC will take you for a routine check-up with a doctor, X-rays, dentist, etc., you will be interviewed so they have all the necessary information about you (health status, family status, maintenance obligations, distrainment, etc.).

They will also take a photo of you for your personal identification card, which also contains your personal number. You always carry this card with you when you leave the cell (walk, when you see a lawyer, doctor, or go for interview). They can check you at every step, so you must always have it with you.

With this card, you can also log in in large telephones in the corridors or outside in the courtyards (each detention centre has own rules according to its internal regulations and facilities).

The approach of each clerk/commander is individual.

Most people in custody (PJGC) take you as a number, as you are there today, tomorrow you may be elsewhere or outside.

Commanders are people who take prisoners on walks, to a lawyer, they accompany you around the constitution… (they literally command you, that’s the real reason for their name).

Clerks are persons who are to provide the best care for prisoners, provide them with as much information as possible, explain to them what they are entitled to, what they can and cannot do. SOME officers mistake the meaning of the words accused and convicted. REMEMBER, the accused is not a convict (slang “jailbird”) who is already literally imprisoned. But that’s a longer story…

Next, as you are on the cell, your day looks something like this:

5:30 – 5:45 alarm clock
6:00 – 6:15 breakfast
7:00 morning check-in (arrival/report)
7:30-11:30 (rest, walk, lawyers, doctors, crossword puzzles, TV, cards, drawing, education, reading, writing letters,…)
12:00 lunch
13: 00 – 17:30 (rest, walk, lawyers, doctors,…)
17:30 – 18:00 dinner
21: 30 lights out

(Each institute has different regulations according to which it operates. It is not the same in any institute, there are small differences everywhere).

THESE DAYS ARE REPEATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Imagine it like this: covid came and people didn’t know what to do at home, they had problems with themselves, what to do with their time, … and that is what custody means – it’s eternal quarantine – without contact, without information, ripped out of the ordinary of life.

Therefore, we recommend that you think about everything we write here and follow the steps we have prepared for you… (especially writing letters to your person in custody – it is a supply of energy when the nearest ones think of you and find time for you…)


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