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Prisons are architectural, administrative and functional entities with their own organisation. They have different units and departments that enable the internal separation and the development of inmate´s lives, facilitating their relations with the outside and the accomplishment of diverse treatment activities focused on rehabilitation and reinsertion into Society.


The Spanish penitentiary system counts on 68 regular prisons for the fulfilment of prison sentences, security measures and pre-trial detention. They form a modern and functional penitentiary map, where each prison is a self-sufficient space.


Penitentiary Psychiatric Centres are institutions for the custody and treatment of inmates that suffer from severe behavioural disorders, whose internment has been ordered by the Court. Their environment is more like the one existing in a hospital. There are 2 of these institutions in our country.


Social Insertion Centres are penitentiary institutions for the fulfilment of prison sentences in Open Regime (semi-freedom, with the possibility to work outside). Likewise, the fulfilment of non-prison sentences (electronic surveillance with personal remote control devices such as bracelets or others), whose execution is entrusted by law to the Penitentiary Administration, is supervised from these centres. At the present moment we have 13 independent Social Insertion Centres with organisational and functional autonomy, and 19 dependent ones.


Open Departments have a similar function as Social Insertion Centres, but they are located within the regular prison compounds. At the present moment there are 21 Open Departments operating.


Mothers Units are facilities specifically planned and built so children under three that have to remain with their mothers can live in optimum conditions for their personal and educational development, in a different environment to the one of a regular prison. Up to the present moment 3 of these Units have been started.


Hospital Custody Units are special separated wards within general big hospitals for inmates that require hospital attention. There are 43 HCU.


The Alternative Measures and Sentences Management Services are administrative departments in charge of the execution of alternative measures and sentences, dependant functionally on a prison. These separate departments have their own staff such as psychologists, pedagogues, educators, practitioners, administrative officers and social workers. Leading these multidisciplinary teams there is a Chief of the Service. They are located in external facilities. At the present moment there are 54 Services. 

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2009 Secretaría General de Instituciones Penitenciarias - Ministerio del Interior - Gobierno de España