Storage of prisoners’ property (2/004/2016), 5 September 2016

Legal basis: Chapter 9(10) of the Imprisonment Act and chapter 5(9) of the Remand Imprisonment Act

In force: 15 September 2016 until further notice

Repeals: Regulation on the storage of prisoners’ property 18/004/2010

For: Criminal Sanctions Agency

Inventory of property

When a prisoner arrives in a closed prison, an inventory of the property brought by the prisoner has to be entered into the prisoner data system. The inventory includes the type and amount of the property. In addition, the value of objects and clothes placed in storage in the prison is recorded in the inventory.

Changes regarding the property of a prisoner are entered into the inventory. When the changes concern valuable objects or clothes of the prisoner, a list of the changes in the property is printed and signed by the prisoner and the official, who drew up the list.

Property sent by the prisoner from the prison has to be deleted from the inventory of property and the name of the person to whom the property was given or sent has to be entered into the inventory. If the prisoner does not sign the inventory, two officials must sign it.

The list of changes that concern objects of minor value (under ten euros) does not need to be signed separately.

The make, model, and identifiers of electronic devices or other similar objects have to be entered into the inventory of property.

In open prisons, the property of a prisoner has to be listed in the prisoner data system in full when the property is temporarily placed in storage in the prison because of a permission of leave or for some other reason.

The prisoner is responsible for the storage of property in his or her possession. The prison is responsible for the property placed in storage in the prison.

Storage and destruction of property

The prison can take a reasonable amount of a prisoner’s property in storage. The available storage facilities of the prison restrict the amount of property that can be accepted. The prisoner has to be informed before arrival in prison how much property the prisoner can bring. Property that cannot be stored in the prison must be sent, at the expense of the prisoner, to a place indicated by the prisoner. When necessary, the prison will contact the prisoner’s municipality of residence regarding the storage of the property.

If property, for which the prison is responsible, is lost or damaged, the circumstances, cause, and amount of the damage has to be cleared up. The prison is liable to compensate the damages caused by the prison to the prisoner’ property in accordance with the Tort Liability Act. These regulations also apply to property during transport.

If the goods are transported by a separate transport company, the company is responsible for the transported goods. This responsibility has to be stated in the contract with the company.

The prison is not responsible for the prisoners’ vehicles (motor vehicles, bicycles etc.) parked in the prison premises or for arranging their storage.

When a prisoner is released, placed in probationary liberty under supervision, or transferred to another prison, the property has to be checked in the presence of the prisoner and the prisoner has to be asked to sign the inventory of property. The prisoner has to be advised to gather up all the property in his or her possession in the accommodation room.

If the prison staff gathers up the prisoner’s goods, the prisoner must be given an opportunity to check the property. When the staff gathers up the goods, their condition has to be recorded if necessary. If some of the property is damaged during packing, it has to be recorded in the inventory of property. If the prisoner does not want to or is not able to check his or her property, it has to be recorded in the inventory of property. Property left by a prisoner who is transferred to another prison has to be delivered to the prisoner.

If a prisoner is transferred to an isolation ward and his or her accommodation room is cleared out, the staff has to look after the prisoner’s property found in the room. The door of the prisoner’s accommodation room has to be locked immediately when the isolation takes place. If the prisoner does not live alone, the prisoner’s property has to be listed immediately and the prison has to take care of its storage.

The staff have to move the property of a prisoner, who has escaped, left without authorisation, or failed to return at the time determined in a permission to go outside the prison, to the same place with the prisoner’s civilian goods. The property has to be listed in the prisoner data system.

Unusable or perishable goods may be destroyed. The grounds for and the action of destruction have to be recorded in the inventory of property. Goods are destroyed according to the same principles as the general waste management in the prison. If a prisoner’s property is destroyed, it has to be recorded in the prisoner data system and the prisoner has to approve it with his or her signature.

Goods found in the prison that have other than minor value but no known owner have to be sent to the police in accordance with the Lost Property Act.

Alcoholic beverages found in the prison are destroyed in a verifiable way. Narcotic substances have to be handed over to the police who sign it as received.

Weapons found in the prison are reported to the police. Weapons and their replicas are not stored in the prison but they are handed over to the police.

Transport of prisoner’s property

When a prisoner is transferred from one prison to another, the prisoner’s property that he or she has in the prison and can carry with him or her has to be delivered to the destination together with the prisoner. The prisoner has to take care of the transport of easily breakable devices (such as TV, instruments, radio) in addition to which the transport can comprise at most two other containers of goods that are packed in bags and recorded in an inventory. The prisoner is responsible for the property that is in his or her possession during the transport.

Property that the prisoner cannot transport himself or herself is delivered to the destination of the prisoner at the expense of the prison. The prison is responsible for the transported goods if the responsibility is not assigned to the party providing the transport by contract. The goods can be transported to the prison of destination either beforehand or within two weeks of the prisoner’s transfer. The transport of the goods is arranged in a manner that causes the prison the lowest costs. The goods can be transported by a cargo vehicle, a laundry vehicle for separate compensation, or a bus transporting prisoners if the bus drives directly to the prison of destination. As far as possible, prisoner transfers have to be planned beforehand so that the prisoner has an opportunity to choose which goods the prisoner will carry with him or her and which will be sent separately.

All things have to be packed in the prisoner’s own bags or in bags provided by the prison. The bags have to be sealed and clearly tagged with the prisoner’s name and whether the goods had been in the possession of the prisoner or in storage in the prison.

When a prisoner is temporarily transferred to another prison or other place of custody, the prisoner can be granted a permission to take necessary personal utility articles and carry them himself or herself during the transfer.

When there is a break during the transport, the prisoner can receive a reasonable amount of personal utility articles and cash. Property meant for the transported prisoner has to be handed over to the official in charge of the transport or the place of custody of the prisoner. The official will consider whether or not the property is given to the possession of the prisoner. Property received during transport has to be entered into the prisoner’s inventory of property when they arrive in the prison. Receiving property while in the vehicle is forbidden. If possible, the goods have to be stored in a different place in the vehicle than where the transported prisoners are.

Director General of the Criminal Sanctions Agency Esa Vesterbacka

Lawyer Jani Kotoaro

 
Published 29.3.2019