Sanitary facilities and personal hygiene

Key Elements

Sanitary facilities that are in good condition, clean, sufficient in number and easy to access are essential to ensure the hygiene and dignity of people in detention, as well as to avoid the transmission of certain infectious diseases. If the sanitary needs of detainees are not met this may constitute cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, or even torture.

The toilets or latrines should be directly accessible from the cell or dormitory, and separated by a door or partition. In all cases, people in detention must be able to satisfy their bodily needs when they need to and with their dignity being respected.

There must be sufficient showers so that detainees can use them as often as necessary, preferably daily (once a week as a minimum in temperate climate) and in accordance with the general principles of hygiene. Communal showers may present an area of risk for certain vulnerable detainees.

The specific hygiene needs of certain categories of detainees, in particular women, children and disabled people, must be taken into consideration and the necessary accommodation must be provided.