Bulgarian Govt Proposes Inmate Relocation to Tackle Overcrowding
Prisoners in Bulgaria will have a floor space of four square meters per person, as required by international standards, no earlier than 2019.
The new deadline is part of draft amendments to the Execution of Penalties and Custody Act that were approved by the government on Wednesday.
Under existing provisions, the four square meters per inmate rule was supposed to enter into force in 2012.
Overcrowded prisons in Bulgaria now offer a floor space of 2-3 square meters per inmate, or even less.
To remedy the situation, the government suggests that prisoners should be relocated to a facility located elsewhere than their permanent registration.
Similar rules are proposed for arrested but not yet convicted persons.
Under the proposed changes, inmates have at their disposal a personal income amounting to the monthly minimum wage.
Under current rules, the amount of the money is determined by the director of the prison.
Inmates will also have the right to pick a hospital where they will receive any necessary treatment.
The changes also envisage alleviating the conditions for prisoners serving life sentences if the regime has been mitigated.
Prisoners serving life are now kept in rooms that are permanently locked and are under enhanced surveillance and security measures.
The proposed amendments also expand volunteer work opportunities and pave the way for prisoner reentry programs.
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