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75% of prisoners are repeat offenders

New director to focus on educational services at the prison

The Corradino prisons are to have a director for educational services, Home Affairs Minister Manuel Mallia said today.

Speaking at the inauguration of a week-long training course on prison education for rehabilitation and resettlement, the minister also expressed concern that 75 per cent of prisoners are repeat offenders.

He said the government was investing in the education of prison inmates with over 29 different courses, varying from life skills and also various trade and academic subjects. Eight prisoners last July passed their O-level exams.

Dr Mallia stressed that minors should not be kept in custody together with adult inmates.

Currently there is an ongoing process to transfer children from the Corradino Correctional Facility to another designated place, in order to have a specified monitored rehabilitation process of these minors.

“I believe that society is duty bound to provide a rehabilitation process for prisoners. I also believe that prisoners should pay for their wrong doings but this does not preclude their right for education, rehabilitation and resettlement. In reality this is not a choice but a must if we are to break the vicious circle of criminality and reduce recidivism. If we manage to rehabilitate and resettle former prisoners, the temptations for them to relapse in the paths of criminality will, without doubt, decrease substantially”, the minister said.

Dr Mallia expressed his disappointment over the current high percentage of prisoners who are repeat offenders. Out of  440 sentenced inmates, 295 were not first time offenders. This meant that almost 75% of the inmates were not first time offenders.

To date no proper recidivism statistics are kept, and the Government intends to initiate a process with all the stakeholders in this field for a proper study in recidivism with the aim to attain concrete solutions for a reduced level of recidivism, Dr Mallia said.

DRUGS

Dr Mallia said that proper rehabilitation could not be successful if drugs were accessible in prison, and this was why he had issued instructions for frequent urine tests for both prisoners and prison staff.

The conference, attended by 40  European experts, was organised by the European Prison Education Association in collaboration with the Programme for Education in Prisons of the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.

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