Press releases

Placement of prisoners in unfurnished cells

Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen finds it problematic that all cells in the isolation ward of Riihimäki Prison are unfurnished. The cells in the isolation ward only have a mattress on the floor. Unfurnished cells can also be found in the isolation wards of other prisons.

Prisoners are placed in the cells of the isolation ward as a disciplinary sanction to impose solitary confinement. Prisoners may also be placed in these cells as a precautionary measure for observation, isolation under observation and to segregate them from other prisoners while a breach of prison rules is being investigated. 
Prisoners are placed to the isolation ward on different grounds and for different purposes and the cell and the conditions to which the prisoner is to be placed in each individual situation must be considered on a case by case basis.  

According to Deputy-Ombudsman Pölönen, the general rule cannot be that prisoners can be placed into unfurnished cells in all situations. The Deputy-Ombudsman is also of the opinion that prisons should acquire pieces of furniture to give to the prisoner in the cell. It is not acceptable humane treatment that prisoners have to have their meals while sitting on the floor. Prisons have different practices regarding the above-mentioned matters.
In the Deputy-Ombudsman's opinion, it would be justified and important for the Central Administration Unit of the Criminal Sanctions Agency to issue guidelines for prisons on how and in what kind of conditions the above-mentioned measures must be implemented.

The Deputy-Ombudsman has requested the Central Administration Unit of the Criminal Sanctions Agency to report by 1 August 2018 what kind of measures have been taken due to his opinion regarding the acquisition of furniture and drawing up guidelines.  

The full text (in Finnish) of Deputy-Ombudsman Pasi Pölönen's decision EOAK/1276/2017 has been published on the Parliamentary Ombudsman's website,

Further information is available from Senior Legal Adviser Matti Vartia, tel. +358 9 432 3378