Prison visits allowed again following relaxation of pandemic measures, as well as general changes to visiting times at Bässlergut prison
Department of Justice and Security
Visits to cantonal prisons have been banned since 20 March 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This ban on visits will be lifted on 9 May. At the same time, new visiting times apply to the penal system at Bässlergut prison: Inmates in the penal system can now receive two hours of visits on the weekends. Before the temporary ban on visits they were allowed one hour.
In order to prevent the outbreak and spread of Covid-19 in the cantonal prisons (Bässlergut prison and Klosterfiechten remand centre and prison), it was necessary to temporarily completely suspend visits. This regulation does not affect lawyers. They are still permitted to visit prisoners. In parallel to the further gradual relaxation of state measures, visits to the prisons of the Canton of Basel-Stadt at the normal visiting times will be permitted again from Saturday, 9 May. Appropriate safety measures will ensure that hygiene and distancing regulations are adhered to in order to prevent infection.
Extension of visiting hours at Bässlergut prison
When visits are allowed again, visiting hours for prisoners in the penal system will be extended at Bässlergut prison: A fixed time window will now be available for visits on Saturday or Sunday. At two hours instead of one, visiting times are twice as long as they normally would be in cantonal prisons. Unlike other prisons of a similar size, it is also not necessary to register in advance.
Prison management reorganised visiting times in the penal system when prisoners moved into the new extension. Since 25 January 2020, each prisoner has been granted a one hour visit on the weekend. The first cycle lasted from 25 January until 1 March. When it came to an end, the plan was to examine the visiting regime for any possible improvements that could be made. Initial experiences with the internal processes and the fact that the number of visitors during the first few weeks was lower than expected, enabled an extension from one to two hours of visiting time per prisoner per week.
Prisoners in the administrative detention system (detained under foreign law, namely detention pending deportation) will be able to receive visits of a total of up to 14 hours per week (Monday to Friday from 08.00 until 10.00, Saturday from 14.30 until 16.30 and Sunday from 08.30 until 10.30) from 9 May 2020, as before visits were reinstated.
The legal representatives of prisoners both in the penal system and in the administrative detention system will be able to visit their clients from Monday to Friday (from 08.00 to 11.30 and from 13.45 until 16.45, or by appointment).
Many visits are expected after the break
As in the other prisons, high demand for visits must be expected at Bässlergut prison following the coronavirus-related interruption. For this reason, it might be necessary to reduce the time window allowed per visit during the first few weeks, until all of the prisoners have been able to receive a visit from their relatives as soon as possible.