A new report released by the Israel Bar Association (IBA) says the situation in Israeli prisons is terrible for inmates and that the detention centers look more like dungeons than prisons.
Most solitary cells are crammed, windowless and dim, giving the impression that prisoners are held in the cells for severe punishment rather than imprisonment, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported on Monday.
"It’s difficult to ignore the feeling that isolation as practiced today serves a function of punishment rather than imprisonment," the report said.
Michael Atia, the chairman of the prison service committee at the IBA, and Moran Kabalo, the chief of criminal law for the association, released the year-long review as official inspectors delegated by the IBA to the prison service visited prisons and spoke to inmates.
The report also noted that prolonged detention in locations isolated from the general prison population has profound psychological impacts on the inmates.
"Many isolated inmates testified to have developed paranoia, a tendency for uncontrollable fits of rage, and eyesight problems because of the lack of natural light through most hours of the day," lawyers wrote.
The report said the use of isolation cells as a routine "to hold isolation prisoners for extended periods of time is against the orders."
It also stated that most of the isolation and solitary confinement cells in prisons fail to live up to minimal standards and are unfit for human habitation.
"Keeping human beings in such unreasonable conditions for extended periods of time, dangerous though they may be, deals a critical blow to the most basic human rights," it concluded.
Earlier in November, Israeli rights groups B’Tselem and HaMoked said Palestinians detained by Tel Aviv’s intelligence services for questioning are held in cruel conditions and frequently suffer abuse.
Disgraceful hygienic conditions, sleep deprivation and physical abuse are part of the ordeal Palestinians face once they are detained by Israel’s notorious intelligence agency Shin Bet, the rights groups said.