VP: Bulgaria Needs Bold Reform of Penal Policy

January 24, 2013, Thursday // 06:52

Bulgarian Vice-President Margarita Popova has spoken in favor of the abolition of the imprisonment without parole punishment, as well as a comprehensive overhaul of Bulgaria's penal system.

Thursday, the Committee on Presidential Pardon at the Office of Bulgaria's President published its yearly report.

According to the document, the penal policy in Bulgaria suffers from inadequacy of criminological expertise, data on crime dynamics, and innovative strategies in social readaptation of delinquents and criminals.

In addition, the committee has found that there is a trend of issuing harsher sentences with comparatively weaker judicial motives.

At the presentation of the report, VP Popova, who has been vested with the power to issue presidential pardon, and is a former prosecutor, re-stated her belief that Bulgaria needs to rework its system of punishments.

"Some 20 years ago we had the courage to state that the death penalty has no place in our country. It is now time to see whether we will have the courage to abolish prison without parole," said the Bulgarian Vice-President.

According to Popova, the punishment of life in prison without parole is just a "mirror image" of the death penalty and contributes little to society or the restoration of justice.

Among the 3 pardongs that Bulgaria's VP has granted over the last year, is the case of a man who was sentenced to death in 1990, after which his sentence was transformed to life without parole, and now to life in prison.

For the year in office since January 22, 2012, the Bulgarian President's Office has received 987 applications for pardon, and has replied positively to 3 of them.


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