PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

In latvia on 1st july 2009 the monthly salary of all

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In Latvia, on 1st July 2009, the monthly salary of all prison officers and staff was reduced by almost 24% (23,9%); from the 1st August until the 31st December 2009 all prison officers, staff and educators had to switch to a part-time 32 hour working week. This situation was seriously criticised by the CPT during its visit to Jekabils Prison in 2009, where one or two prison officers were responsible for supervising more than one hundred inmates during the day. At night, there was no permanent staff presence in the units, a mobile group of prison officers instead performing checks from time to time. Last, the impact of the crisis is felt at the political level. In France, the Government highlights the context of fiscal restraint to turn down any proposal to improve conditions of detention or to take into account the inmates’ families (strengthening social protection of prisoners, financial support to families to enable them to cope with the expenses, increased training etc.). As a consequence of the crisis, many European governments felt the necessity to reduce the prison population rates. In Latvia, comprehensive Criminal Law amendments were adopted on 13 December 2012 with the purpose of liberalising Latvia’s penal policy and bringing down the prison population. Several criminal offences were decriminalised, alternatives to imprisonment were expanded for a wider range of crimes, thresholds for minimum and maximum sanctions were lowered for a wide range of crimes. Lower sanctions were fixed for property crimes (like thefts, robberies, fraud), which are not connected with the “threat to a person’s life or health”. At the same time new custodial sanction – short term detention (from 15 days to 3 months) was introduced for criminal offences, community service will be applicable in the case of conditional sentences, imprisonment in cases of minor offences and less serious offences is to be applicable only when the aim of the punishment cannot be reached by lighter sanctions. In Greece, the effects of the acute financial crisis on correctional policy have been contradictory so far. On the one hand, cuts in public spending encourage ‘state -of- emergency’ legislation (e.g. Law 4043/2012) in an attempt to curb the increase of the prison population. On the other hand, the unprecedented actual levels of economic insecurity, the legitimacy crisis of the state and the
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 55 systematic effort of the mass media to divert public anger away from the economic and political elite are contributing towards a more punitive treatment of inmates. Media coverage does not focus any more on unacceptable living conditions and human rights violations in prisons, but on the ‘lenient’ treatment of inmates by prison officers. Revelations that a ‘swimming pool’ has been constr ucted in the prison psychiatric unit, that inmates are allowed to buy ‘smoked salmon’ from prison canteens and
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