The Ministry of Justice and Public Order has a core objective to strengthen the rehabilitative and penitentiary processes in prison based on conditions of security and with respect of human rights, seeking to affect the smooth reintegration of prisoners in society and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.
At the same time, the reinforcement of the imposition of alternative to custody sentences for specific groups of detainees, as well as the probation of offenders is imperative. Furthermore, the promotion of the current state of affairs in respect of completion of sentences out of prison through electronic monitoring and parole is reinforced.
DRAFTING NEW LEGISLATION FOR THE MODERNISATION OF THE CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM.
In the sector of correctional policy, the drafting of a new legislation for the prison estate and new relevant regulations has been fulfilled. It has been already received approval by the Council of Ministers (May 2019) and has been submitted to the House of Representatives for examination.
The newly proposed legislation reflects on the significant remedial changes that have taken place in the Prison estate in recent years with a people-centred completion of sentences under conditions of security, respect of human rights, individualised support, health care, educational and vocational opportunities, in order to effect the rehabilitation and social reintegration of ex-offenders as well as reduce the likelihood of recidivism and their return to custody.
The new legislation modifies in depth the existing regulatory framework that governs the functions of the correctional system and constitutes the Prison Legislation fully compatible with the European Convention on human rights and the case law of the European Court of Justice of human rights. In addition, it conforms to the relevant recommendations of international and European organisations in respect of the operational principles of an advanced correctional system and treatment of detainees/prisoners.
AMENDEMENT OF THE LEGISLATION OF PRISONS AND REGULATIONS FOR DEALING WITH THE OVERCROWDING OF THE PRISON ESTATE.
The framework considered in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the decongestion of the prison estate led to the amendment of the legislation of prisons [N.35(I)/20] and the prisons regulations (KDP 149/20). Overall, the new regulations effect significant positive and permanent alterations to our correctional system with people-centred, rehabilitative and inclusive character due to:
- Expanding the use of electronic tag monitoring, particularly on prisoners convicted for offences of low seriousness that have served 1/3 of their sentence;
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ORDER AND THE CYPRUS EMPLOYERS AND INDUSTRIALISTS FEDERATION IN SUPPORTING OCCUPATIONAL REHABILITATION OF PRISONERS/EX-OFFENDERS
- Strengthening the open prison estate through the expansion of opportunities for the integration of prisoners; and
- Reinforcing the accession orientation of the prisoners’ vocational training centre.
The ministry of Justice and Public Order and the Federation of Employers and Industrialists have signed a memorandum of understanding on 13/10/20 where they agreed the recording of their activities and actions for the purpose of supporting the vocational occupation and social reintegration of ex-offenders.
COOPERATION PROTOCOL WITH THE MINISTRIES OF HEALTH, WELFARE AND SOCIAL INSURANCE AND THE CYPRUS NATIONAL ADDICTIONS AUTHORITY IN ORDER TO CREATE LINKS WITH EX-OFFENDERS WHO ADDICTED TO ILLICIT SUBSTANCES
The protocol that was agreed between the relevant stakeholders determines a systematic framework of cooperation where all relevant co-responsible civil services will work collaboratively to assist and support the smooth reintegration of ex-offenders into society who face addiction problems and reduce the likelihood of recidivism and social exclusion.
AD-HOC COMMITTEE FOR THE HOLISTIC AND IN-DEPTH STUDY INTO THE ISSUE OF THE OVERCROWDING IN THE PRISON ESTATE
The Cabinet of Ministers, upon recommendations from the Ministry of Justice and Public Order, decided on 7/05/20 to convene an Ad-Hoc Committee for the holistic and in-depth research of the issue of the prison estate overcrowding, as well as the identification and scientific research of the causes and consequences of the increasing prison population. The complete proposal includes recommendations on resolution of this issue and is to be submitted by January 2021.
PERSONNEL – DIVISIONAL STRUCTURE:
1. Aristos Tsiartas, Chair of the Department of Human Rights, Anti-Crime and Correctional policy, Senior Officer to the Ombudsman’s Office.
2. Spyros Yiallourides, Legal Affairs Officer.
3. Anthi Papoutsidou, Administrative Officer.