Twenty eight convicts are set to benefit from presidential amnesties this August 15. These convicts were normally due to be released on October 31.
The list, which was approved by the Attorney General, includes 17 Cypriots and 11 foreign citizens. All those released should have served half of their sentence by August 15. Those convicted of murder or attempted murder, homicide, drug trafficking, and sexual offencs are excluded.
The amnesties are mainly given to help decongest prisons. The problem of overpopulation in prisons has recently been alleviated by the creation of new wings in the prison complex and an increase in the prison’s capacity (580 convicts compared to 340 five years ago).
However, a trend of tougher penalties makes the situation more difficult. Prison managers in consultation with the Ministry of Justice, are working on various plans to reduce the number of people sentenced to imprisonment either through community work or with the creation of a delinquent driver training ‘school’.
Foreign prisoners, currently account for 40% of the total prison population: they can not go to the centre for out-of jail employment and remain n prison. In addition, a drug addiction treatment programme is in place for the many prisoners who have been imprisoned because they committed offences in order to secure their dose. Soon a wing will work especially for those who participating in this programme and new prison wardens will be recruited.