National Human Rights Commission Calls for Alleviation of Detention Center Overcrowding

SEOUL - The National Human Rights Commission of South Korea has once again highlighted the urgent need to address the overcrowding in detention centers, terming it a breach of human dignity.

According to Yonhap News Agency, a complaint was lodged by an inmate from a detention facility in North Gyeongsang Province, which revealed that up to eight individuals were being housed in a space designed for five, resulting in less than 2 square meters of personal space per inmate. The facility claimed it lacked the capacity to refuse additional inmates or control its occupancy levels due to spatial constraints.

The human rights watchdog emphasized that such cramped conditions not only violate human dignity and values but also the right to pursue happiness. It recommended to the justice ministry that the root cause of the overcrowding—namely, the growing number of prisoners on trial and the low parole rate, rather than the capacity of individual facilities—needs to be addressed. This recommendation marks the 23rd occasion since 2003 that the commission has raised concerns about detention center conditions, yet the issue persists due to budgetary constraints and local opposition to facility expansions.

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