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Rada embarks on penitentiary reform

Prisons should give rehabilitation instead of "suffering and torture".

The Verkhovna Rada has started the development of a new law on the penitentiary system of Ukraine began, the head of the parliamentary subcommittee on penitentiary service, Yuriy Myroshnychenko told a roundtable congerence at Gorshenin Institute on Friday, 17 March. The project aims to transform the nation's penitentiary system from the "system of suffering and torture" into a rehabilitation system.

"The term 'penitentiary' is to do with repentance," Myroshnychenko noted, so the prisoner must understand that he did something wrong, wish to change his life and get the opportunity to start from new page.

"Even at our meetings in the subcommittee we often hear the talks about the justice of the punitive approach, so a lot of work needs to be done... This goal cannot be achieved by cosmetic methods," Myroshnychenko stressed.

In his view, the penitentiary reform may take from 5 to 15 years, depending on the availability of resources at the government.

Among the innovations that are planned in the new bill, the lawmaker mentioned:

  • round-the-clock access to penal institutions for penitentiary judges, employees of human rights organizations, people's deputies and chaplains;
  • video-recording of all actions of prison personnel with the help of chest cameras; the records should be kept for at least five years and can serve as evidence in court;
  • excursions to prisons;
  • involvement of volunteers, mediation and reconciliation specialists, specialists in social, educational and psychological and therapeutic work from public organizations;
  • creation of a new network of pre-trial detention centers, mainly outside populated areas;
  • use of public-private partnership;
  • demilitarization of the penitentiary service;
  • subordination of the medical prison service to health ministry;

provision of psychological assistance for prison staff in order to avoid professional deformation, etc.

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