By Evie Andreou
INMATES will be allowed Skype calls, as well as more visitors, visits and longer phone calls, Central prisons’ deputy Anna Aristotelous announced yesterday during the opening of the inmates’ art exhibition on ‘Thinking and Creating Freely’.
Aristotelous said that inmates will be allowed 20 guests instead of the present 15 and the number of visits will be increased from ten to 12, while inmates who cannot see visitors because of distance or illness will be prioritised for Skype calls.
Some changes will be implemented before the end of the year and others in January, Aristotelous said.
She added that the art exhibition, which will run until Saturday and will be attended by inmates’ relatives, is part of her plan to help inmates integrate smoothly and is a new approach adopted by the prisons department.
“For inmates to feel secure within the prison environment and believe in their abilities, their lives must have meaning and they need to become active, responsible citizens both within and out of the prison,” Aristotelous said.
She added that inmates have also shown great interest in the night school that has been running since last September and that the University of Cyprus will also offer a series of classes.
Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou, who inaugurated the art exhibition, said that the government helps the prisoners to integrate better into society through education.
“Our goal is to increase opportunities for the inmates,” he said.
Nicolaou added that a series of new measures will be introduced including sports and cultural activities, to psychologically strengthen the inmates and prevent non-compliant behaviour.
The Justice ministry is going ahead with the construction of a new, modern and functional prison, Nicolaou said, that will respond to the needs of a modern penitentiary system, and of a proper and properly staffed juvenile detention centre.
In January, works for the expansion of Wing 3 of the central prison is expected to get underway.
According to an announcement of the Public Works department, the project will cost more than €1.3m and it is expected to be completed within 16 months.