The Czech Republic's first detention centre for sexual deviants and criminals with psychological problems will open in early 2009, Prime Minister Mirek Tapolanek announced Tuesday.
"The government has decided to pay an almost 40-year debt," Topolanek said during a news conference.
Similar institutions have existed in Europe since the 1970s, he said.
Local specialists have called for decades for such specialised places, complaining that ordinary psychiatric institutions were easy to escape from, with staff and other patients often subject to attack from problem patients.
To be located in the country's second city of Bro, the new 24-cell, 48-bed centre has been converted from part of the hospital at Brno prison at a cost of 25 million koruna (around 1.0 million euros, 1.57 million dollars). Two similar centres, capable of taking a total of 400 people, will also open in the north-east of the country, at Opava and Vidnava.
Around 200 individuals, who have almost no hope of being cured by psychiatric treatment, have already been singled out for the new centres, justice minister Jiri Pospisil told reporters.
"Delinquents can only be placed in such centres following a court decision, with the obligation to review their psychiatric state every 12 months," he said.
A law paving the way for creating such centres was passed by parliament in 2007, signed by President Vaclav Klaus at the start of April and will take effect early next year.
European human rights bodies have criticised Prague for its treatment of sexual offenders.
A delegation from the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee in 2006 found a total of 24 offenders at two separate institutions subject to hormonal treatment aimed at curbing their sex drive -- so-called chemical castration.
Some offenders, notably those who committed violent crimes such as murder, were encouraged to opt for the treatment, the committee said.
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