Control mechanisms, whether they are internal inspections or monitoring by external bodies, are meant to act in complementarity. Independent and effective external monitoring spearheads the oversight system and adequately fulfils the requirement of transparency. External monitoring should also enable for oversight of the functioning of the internal inspections service. In order to carry out their mission all oversight bodies should have the independence, capacity and resources necessary to execute their mandate.
It is important that the conditions under which inspections are carried out respect certain minimum requirements regardless of the types of visits:
- The possibility to conduct unexpected visits at any time and at any place of detention under the responsibility of the Ministry in charge. Once they arrive at the place of detention, inspectors should have access to the entire premises.
- The possibilities for inspectors to interview anyone of their choosing in private, whether it is staff or detainees. These interviews should take place as privately as possible and in a suitable place. These interviews should never be mandatory, especially for detainees.
- Access to records, including prison registers and disciplinary records.
- The possibility to follow-up on visits whether through recommendations or binding measures.