Monitoring visits to institutions where citizens live

The purpose of the monitoring visit is often to check how public authorities take care of individuals who are, for one reason or another, deprived of their liberty for a period of time. We visit for example:

  • State and local prisons and the Prison and Probation Service’s half-way houses 
  • Police short-term holding facilities and police custody cells
  • Psychiatric wards 
  • Secure care residential institutions for juveniles under 18.

We also visit other institutions where citizens reside for either a short period of time or for longer, and where they therefore must adjust their daily life in order to comply with the institution’s regulations – for example psychiatric and social residential institutions as well as 24-hour residential institutions for children and juveniles who are placed in out-of-home care.

The Ombudsman has been given some special areas of responsibility which form the basis of some of the monitoring visits, and the focus may therefore vary a little from visit to visit. However, in practice the visits to residential institutions proceed in more or less the same way no matter the background for the visit.

The special areas of responsibility are:

Monitoring visits according to UN rules

The United Nations have adopted rules against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In Denmark, the Parliamentary Ombudsman has been appointed to visit places where citizens are deprived of their liberty, in order to ensure that the UN rules are observed.

The Ombudsman works together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture to carry out the visits, which may take place at both private and public institutions.

Visits to children’s institutions etc.

We visit institutions and other places, where children are staying, with the specific purpose of monitoring that the rights of the children are observed. It may be 24-hour residential institutions, but it may also be a foster family, a school or a day nursery. We visit both public and private institutions etc. for children.

The Ombudsman has written a manual on his monitoring visits. Read the manual here..

Report on the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s monitoring visits