27 April 2023

Social re-integration of released prisoners

Following repeated complaints made by incarcerated offenders, the High Commissioner issued a general recommendation on reintegration, highlighting not only the genuine need for varied and suitable cultural and sporting activities, but also the requirement to guarantee the most effective medical supervision possible. 

On the issue of sports and cultural practices, the High Commissioner noted an internal memo circulated at the Remand Prison, which changed the number of books, CDs, and DVDs that could be borrowed, but failed to change the length of time for which they could be kept before being returned. This point is crucial, since if the loan period for cultural media is too short - as is currently the case - inmates are unable to properly take on board the information they contain. Ultimately, this contributes to a situation where former prisoners being unable fully to reenter society. In the interests of positive reintegration, the High Commissioner believes it would be a good idea to allow prisoners to begin adapting to a new pace of life, by giving them the time needed to take on new knowledge. Similarly, the scheduling of educational, cultural and sporting activities leaves inmates with insufficient options, and thus at risk of falling behind in the process of reintegration. 

The High Commissioner insisted on the importance of offering purposeful activities. While the Remand Prison’s open door policy represents a step forward in this respect, it remains the case that the activities available are not sufficient and there is still room for significant improvement in the penitentiary system.

Given the wide range of economic, sporting, and cultural activities in Monaco, the Remand Prison could be a pioneer when it comes to reintegration of prisoners. By developing suitable educational courses and activities, it could comply with the recommendations of supra-national judicial bodies, whilst also addressing local concerns, particularly for prisoners who are Monegasque nationals or residents. Establishing a social reentry policy when an offender is incarcerated would probably reduce the likelihood their re-offending, thereby helping to make the Principality safer. 

On the issue of medical supervision, the High Commissioner reiterated its call for the authorities to look at setting up an ad hoc committee of general practitioners, specialist physicians, and paramedical professionals, to monitor incarcerated patients. This committee would help to alleviate the legitimate lack of professionals for whom no replacement can be found, while also providing more comprehensive and multidimensional patient care.