Number of prisoners to be decreased in Lithuania - minister

Elvinas Jankevičius

Lithuania's Ministry of Justice is working on a project which, if fully implemented, should contribute to reducing the number of prisoners in the country by one fifth, Lithuanian Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius said on Friday.

"We are working hard in this direction as we see that execution of a full sentence in prisons or correctional facilities does not necessarily contribute to a successful improvement of a person," Jankevičius told in an interview with local website 15min.lt.

According to the ministry's plan, the most efficient way is to re-socialize the prisoner who is afterwards in freedom supervised by probation officers, he said.

"A higher percentage of such convicts don't return to prison later," the minister underlined.

The minister's comments followed an outbreak of prisoners' protests against introduced new internal prison rules this week. According to Lithuania's Prison Department, nearly 400 of inmates in the country's three imprisonment institutions have posted a hunger strike by Friday.

The protests started earlier this week in Pravieniskes correctional facility after 50 prisoners were relocated to new premises in order to reduce practices of illegal prison subculture.Inmates of Alytus and Marijampolė prisons later in the week joined the protests.
Jankevičius said on Friday the situation was "under control".

"We have always said that we would not tolerate the mess and would not allow the prisoners to do intolerable things," Jankevičius was quoted as saying by 15min.lt.

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