The public prosecutor's office conducts supervision of the compliance with legal regulations in “detention facilities”, i.e. facilities the purposes of which are listed below:

·         pre-trial custody (remand prisons where accused persons are held, provided their pre-trial custody was ordered),

·         sentence (prisons where convicts are held),

·         preventive detention (preventive detention institute where dangerous convicts, who were diagnosed with a mental illness, are held),

·         court-imposed measure – protective education (educational facilities for preventive education for young offenders and children who committed an act that is qualified as an offense under normal circumstances, pursuant to the act on justice over juveniles),

·         court-ordered institutional care (educational facilities for institutional care where, pursuant to the Family Act, children are held whose upbringing is at serious risk or distorted and in whose case no other measures have so far been effective, or children whose parents cannot provide the upbringing of their child due to other material reasons).




In conducting said supervision activities, public prosecutors are entitled to the following:

a)    they can visit the aforementioned places at any time of the day,

b)    they can review documents, files and written orders and resolutions

c)    they can speak to inmates in private (i.e. without a third person being present)

d)    they can seek explanations from employees of the respective facility,

e)    they can verify the legality of  

a.    procedures and resolutions issued by the educational facility with respect to institutional care or protective education, or

b.    orders and resolutions of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic with respect to the pre-trial custody, sentence or preventive detention,

f)     they can order that compliance with the applicable legal regulations be ensured with respect to the respective detention,

g)    they can order that a person be released, provided the person's custody/imprisonment is against the law

h)   they can file a motion requesting that institutional care or protective education be terminated, or a motion requesting the imposition of protective education upon a minor under 15 years of age who has already been living in a facility pursuant to a resolution on institutional care.


Unlike NGO's or the Public Defender of Rights (who can also inspect these facilities), a public prosecutor may issue orders addressed to the Prison Service of the Czech Republic, and the Prison Service must “comply immediately”.

Unlike the inspections conducted in prisons or preventive detention facilities by the Ministry of Justice or the General Directorate of the Prison Service, inspections conducted by a public prosecutor's office are independent. The office is not responsible for the operation of prisons and institutions. Only the criterion of legality is taken into consideration by the public prosecutor's office, it does not take into account any organisational, financial or staffing issues.

Similar principles apply with respect to supervision of educational facilities.

Therefore, the specific aspect of the supervision by the public prosecutor's office is the right to issue orders and its independence in the procedure.


It is essential to emphasise the incompatibility of the role of a public prosecutor as an authority concerned with criminal proceedings and the role of the same public prosecutor as an authority concerned with detention supervision. The system as such shall disallow the involvement in the supervision of the public prosecutor who was/is actively involved in the proceedings with the person who is subject of the detention. The public prosecutor in charge of supervision should not be influenced by the res gestae that had lead to the imprisonment of the person in detention. This is why it is suitable to reintroduce the increased independence of the respective specialists of the public prosecutor's office (see below).


Should the term “detention centre” refer to facilities that are not referred to above, the public prosecutor's office does not carry out supervision in them. This includes especially:  

·         facilities where foreigners who reside in the Czech Republic are kept due to administrative reasons,

·         police custody cells,

·         mental hospitals.  


Yes. A public prosecutor may speak with all the persons who are kept in facilities listed under Section 2 alone, i.e. without other persons being present.


Public prosecutors conduct inspections usually once in every two months. The purpose of these inspections is, inter alia, to focus on the issues of accommodation of inmates, as the issue of solitary confinement is governed by Czech legal regulations as well. Should they find that a certain legal regulation has been breached, they shall issue an order to the Prison Service of the Czech Republic, irrespective of the fact that costs may be incurred with respect to the requested compliance with the applicable law. Therefore, public prosecutors do not take into consideration the question of how these measures are to be financed by prison administration authorities. The same applies to supervision of educational facilities.


As already stated under Section 4 letter f) above, in case of any material breach of legal regulations within the process of aforementioned detentions, a public prosecutor shall respond by requesting strict compliance with the applicable legal regulation in the process of said detention. The request is addressed to the respective prison administration authority (usually to the warden of the prison in question) or to the educational facility (usually its principal). This order may also request that these authorities comply with the resolutions of courts and public prosecutors – e.g. resolution on parole (release from prison) or resolution on preliminary placement of a minor to an educational facility. This order must be complied with immediately. If the responsible person fails to comply, the public prosecutor has several options how to proceed with respect to the addressee of the order:

·           In cases when the failure to comply resulted in criminal offense the public prosecutor in charge of the supervision of detention shall submit his/her findings to his/her colleagues specialising in criminal law who shall adopt further measures as necessary, i.e. within criminal proceedings (criminal prosecution and putting on trial).

·           Otherwise the public prosecutor may proceed as follows:

o   he/she may inform the Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic (i.e. the main prison administration authority) about his/her findings regarding the respective warden's misconduct; the Director General may impose a disciplinary punishment on the warden. If even the Director General fails to act, the public prosecutor may inform the Minister of Justice about his/her findings. The minister can adopt further measures, as he/she is the superior authority to the Director General. However, the public prosecutor has no legal power to act on his/her own in this case.

o   he/she may inform the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports about his/her findings regarding the respective principal's misconduct, for the purpose of proceedings on a fine for the neglect of duty. The public prosecutor has no legal power to act on his/her own in this case.


Public prosecutors visit all prisons once in every two months, while every educational facility is visited once in every three months. This frequency was established pursuant to an internal directive of the public prosecutor's office and it has been maintained to this date, even though it is not defined as strictly as it used to be.


Yes. Public prosecutors are entitled to visit all aforementioned facilities “at any time of the day”, i.e. especially at night. They are entitled to take measures there any time.


Pursuant to the act on public prosecution and other legal regulations, public prosecutors have no legal power to entrust experts with tasks that are related to detention supervision. In the process of conducting investigation, the public prosecutor's office is entitled to contact, by a letter of request, individual ministries and other state authorities, local administration bodies, as well as professional bodies and interest group bodies, in order to seek the necessary information.


Children who are placed in educational institutions may address to the public prosecutor's office (or to other state authorities and authorities concerned with social and legal protection of children) their requests, complaints and motions whose contents may not be reviewed. These motions must be sent “on the first business day that follows after the day on which they were handed over to employees of the institution”.

Similarly, accused persons, convicted persons or inmates in protective detention cannot have their correspondence reviewed if it is addressed to their attorneys, state authorities, diplomatic missions and consulates of foreign countries or international organisations whose mission includes the review of motions concerning human rights protection. This kind of correspondence shall be mailed “immediately”.

If and when the aforementioned persons contact the public prosecutor's office, a public prosecutor must conduct an independent investigation.

A complaint cannot be assigned to the person whose conduct is subject of the claimant's submission. In principle, it should not be assigned to the warden/director of the institution, even though he/she himself/herself is not mentioned by the claimant in the submission. Pursuant to the provisions of the act on public prosecution, the tasks of a public prosecutor may not be carried out by other institutions or persons in lieu of the public prosecutor. This principle is occasionally breached in real life, which is why the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office attempts to make sure that motions are not assigned to wardens/directors of the facilities in question.


Investigation of criminal offences commited under such particular circumstances is conducted classically, it means by the police under the supervision of a public prosecutor. The public prosecutor is entitled, inter alia, to give instructions that are binding on the police, to overrule their decisions or to conduct legal acts on his/her own. He/she has full control over the pre-trial process and the police must follow his/her instructions.

While a public prosecutor is legally entitled to carry out the entire process of investigation of a certain case himself/herself, they rarely do so in real life.


Aside from the framework defined above, public prosecutors have no special powers to directly interfere with the adoption or reversal of special measures adopted with respect to particularly dangerous inmates. On the other hand, they may ascertain whether or not these measures are in compliance with the generally binding legal regulations and they may order that they be brought into accord with these regulations.


Until 30th June 2009, public prosecutors had had “independent status” with respect to the supervision of detention. They had been personally appointed by the Supreme Public Prosecutor for the purpose of supervision and they only reported to similarly appointed public prosecutors from a higher-level public prosecutor's office. This independence has not existed since 1st July 2009. Therefore, public prosecutors no longer need individual appointment and they report to the “chief public prosecutor” from their respective public prosecutor's offices.


If and where stipulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure, public prosecutors take part in proceedings on pardons or amnesties. However, this agenda is not associated with the detention supervision agenda at all.

The public prosecutor's office does not supervise the Criminal Register.


Pursuant to the applicable law, public prosecutors need not be particularly qualified for the detention supervision agenda. The process of education of public prosecutors is administered, in particular, by Justiční akademie (the Justice Academy which is an organisational subdivision of the state)) and the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office. There are two levels on which methodological assistance by the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office is conducted:

·           Methodological aids are sent regularly “to people's desks” – they include explanatory diagrams and tables containing information on current issues or diagrams and tables facilitating familiarization with various topics (extent of responsibilities of prisons with respect to reporting on incidents, types and specialisations of educational facilities, main principles of supervision, rules that are/aren't subject of supervision, etc.).

·           Public prosecutors attend presentations where they are informed (by means of PowerPoint presentations) about current issues of detention supervision. These presentations take place at their workplaces or in facilities of Justiční akademie (the Justice Academy), respectively.


Just like wardens and convicts themselves, public prosecutors are entitled to propose parole or a change in the conditions of sentence. In such cases public prosecutors take part in the respective proceedings. However, this agenda is not associated with the detention supervision agenda at all.


The Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office and the Office of the Public Defender of Rights mutually exchange the outcomes of their respective assessments – by sending the final reports to each other. The ombudsman's findings represent valuable sources of information for the evaluation of supervision by public prosecutors. Public prosecutors provide to the Office of the Public Defender of Rights background information for the purpose of the ombudsman's visit to prisons. In cases where the public prosecutor's office has run out of all legal measures, not being able to achieve a remedy (e.g. due to an error in the activities of the ministry or due to an imperfect legal regulation), it shall inform the ombudsman.

There is no continuous cooperation established with other organisations. 


The key aspect of the detention supervision is strict compliance with legal regulations, irrespective of any organisational, staffing or financial issues experienced by the supervised subject. In this regard, I do not play on the same team with the supervised subject and public prosecutors should refrain from establishing personal relationships with wardens/directors of the supervised facilities.

In Brno, 07/03/2011

The Supreme Public Prosecutor´s Office

The Czech Republic