Illicit Drugs and Correctional Institutions: A Case Study of Zenica Penitentiary in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Amer Smailbegovic 1 * , Nedzad Korajlic 1, Marija Lucic-Catic 1, Muamer Kavazovic 1, Redzo Kahric 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 4, Issue 2 (Special Issue), pp. 20-26

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The Penal-Correctional Institution of the Enclosed Type in Zenica (Kazneno-popravni zavod zatvorenog tipa Zenica), Bosnia-Herzegovina, has been in continuous operation for over 130 years and is currently the largest and most-diverse penal institution in the country. With 714 inmates serving lengthy sentences (up to 40 years) for the variety of serious offenses (including terrorism), the issue of narcotics use, traffic and trade has been encountered and countered, particularly in the last decade. The types of drugs encountered in the institution range from prescription drugs (i.e. buprenorphine, methadone), to “heavy” narcotics (i.e. heroin, morphine, speed. The type, quantity and frequency of drug use and seizure shows certain seasonal and temporal effects and is associated with the inmate-furlough periods, awarded for good behavior. Many inmates use this privilege to bring narcotics into the facility. Some of the encountered substances have been seized from the facility visitors and even from the prison staff, in the past five years, but the charges have been generally dismissed by the prosecutors for the lack of evidence. An average seizure is about ten grams per incident, and the number of seizures has been continuous, suggesting considerable financial interest and gain for the drugs to enter the institution. There are various measures proposed to counter the traffic and limit the purchases, however the inmate population is very apt in using the current legal regulations and EU-mandates to circumvent the proposed countermeasures. This study is presenting some of the findings, directions and recommendations for combating the drug-traffic within the correctional institution. 

Keywords: Narcotics, Penal-Correctional Institutions, Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina