News Local Early release to ease prison overcrowding amid Covid-19

Early release to ease prison overcrowding amid Covid-19

Moving to decongest Nicosia Central Prison, the government is looking at the early release of more prisoners and expanding electronic monitoring at home as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

These were discussed at a meeting chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades with the attorney general and the Justice Minister focusing on the need to decongest overcrowding  at the prison, particularly because of the risk of coronavirus.

It was decided that:

1. The Justice Minister will suggest to the attorney general he examine the possibility of  a presidential pardon being granted to additional categories of prisoners, always with the exception of those categories who are not eligible for presidential pardon

2. A bill to go to cabinet on Tuesday (today) to expand the measure of electronic surveillance so that people can serve the remainder of their sentence at home to

(a) those sentenced for under 12 months provided they have served one third of their sentence

(b) those sentenced for more than 12 months but less than five years provided they have served half their sentence

Prisoners sentenced for serious offences will not be eligible.

3. A bill to go to cabinet on Tuesday (today) to expand the eligibility of prisoners in the open prison and the time they can spend in the training centre

Specifically prisoners jailed for up to 12 months will be eligible for open prison (currently six).

Moreover, time at the training centres will be extended to 18 months from the current 12 months.

Both bills will go to the House of Representatives on Thursday for a vote.


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