Due to the specific living conditions of a large number of people living in a confined area, even a single coronavirus infected person within the prison system could endanger the health of many, which is why physical visits were restricted in all penitentiaries as one of the measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. However, to allow inmates to maintain contact with their family members and other close persons, video visits were introduced, which until recently was only possible for contacts with children.
As prisoners’ reactions were mostly positive, we proposed to the Ministry of Justice to continue with the possibility of video visits even after the pandemic. Therefore, an analysis for making them permanent is planned, while the preconditions for this will be met after the adoption of the new the Execution of Prison Sentence Act, which is in Parliamentary procedure.
Although video communication is not prescribed as a prisoner’s right, it is a good alternative and an addition to regular physical visits which certainly would make regular contacts easier and more frequent. They are especially important because staying connected with family and others helps in successful rehabilitation and resocialization which ultimately is the main purpose of serving a prison sentence. Finally, video visits would also significantly help those of lower socio-economic status to visit their family members or friends while serving the sentence, since some of them cannot afford to travel regularly or even at all.
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