Early release from right to privilege

POSTED: 05/25/12 2:09 PM

GREAT BAY – When the parliament approves the new criminal code with the amendments proposed by Justice Minister Roland Duncan conditional early release will no longer be a right for prisoners but a privilege that has to be earned.
The Justice Ministry wants to regulate maximum sentence reductions in a national decree. This decree will also regulate the conditions inmates will have to meet. Currently convicts who get a partially suspended sentence are subject to the condition that they do not commit crimes during their probation period and that they follow instructions from the Rehabilitation Bureau. Minister Duncan wants to re-activate the bail-option as an additional condition. “Bail is already in the code. It has been used in the Kingdom since the Middle ages, but it has fallen out of use,” Duncan said during yesterday’s meeting in parliament about the new criminal code. The minister also considers bail as an option for convicts who serve their time outside the prison under electronic surveillance.
The minister expressed strong views about the conditional release system. “The current situation is that inmates think conditional release is their god-given right and that they do not have to sit their full term. I do not agree. Conditional release is a good instrument to re-socialize, but it is not a right; it is a privilege, and we won’t stay with the current system.”
Inmates who don’t have a legal residence status within the Kingdom and who are sentenced to a prison term of less than five years of which they have served at least nine months could still qualify for early release based on a ministerial decision, or after they have served at least one third of their sentence.
Foreigners who are sentenced to five years or more and who have no legal residency status in the Kingdom do not qualify for early release at all. Inmates who do have legal status within this category only qualify for early release if they have a steady place to live

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