A Step Toward Hygiene and Dignity

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Local news, 01.02.2024

In a progressive move toward ensuring the well-being and dignity of incarcerated women, Unit 407 of open and closed prisons under the General Executive Agency of Court Decisions in Mongolia has undergone significant transformations. This initiative, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, is a testament to a commitment to human rights, hygiene, and improved living conditions for female prisoners.

Renovated water and sanitation facility at Women's prison
Renovated water and sanitation facility at Women's prison ©SDC

Established in 1990, the bathhouse and laundry in the prison’s living area have been a crucial part of the inmates' daily lives. However, there have been challenges such as insufficient hot water, outdated equipment, and deteriorating infrastructure over the years. With approximately 130-140 prisoners using the bathhouse and laundry daily and around 910 prisoners weekly, the need for a comprehensive upgrade was evident.

Thanks to support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the bathhouse and laundry facilities underwent a significant overhaul. The renovation included upgrading the interior to meet hygiene standards, addressing structural issues caused by high humidity, and replacing outdated equipment. The project aimed to ensure the legal rights of female prisoners, protect their health, and prevent the risk of infectious diseases within the prison environment. Recognizing the unique needs of incarcerated mothers, a separate premise for mothers with newborns was established in 2013 with grant assistance from World Vision Mongolia. Covering an area of 144 square meters, the facility comprises three rooms for new mothers, a bathroom, a laundry room, a drying area, and a kitchen. Currently, it accommodates 17 mothers, 18 infants, and three pregnant women.

The comprehensive project goes beyond infrastructure improvements. It encompasses the creation of a play corner for infants up to two years of age within the women's quarters, ensuring that the rights of both mothers and their children are respected. Additionally, the kitchen and mother's room underwent renovations, further contributing to the overall improvement of living conditions for women in the prison.

The successful implementation of this project signifies a crucial step toward creating a humane and supportive environment for incarcerated women. By addressing essential hygiene needs, providing facilities for new mothers, and renovating living spaces, the 407th prison unit has not only upheld the rights of female prisoners but has also contributed to their psychological well-being. This initiative stands as a model for promoting dignity and positive rehabilitation within the correctional system. Dr. Stefanie Burri, Head of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Mongolia, highlighted, "I am happy to see the results of this great initiative. The principles of ensuring gender equality and leaving no one behind are crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I can assure you that gender equality and leaving no one behind are at the top of the Swiss policy agenda. I hope that creating a comfortable environment for women and mothers who are imprisoned will improve their correctional education and have a positive impact on their future lives."