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Ministry mulls amending early release clause for prisoners

The justice ministry (CNA)

The justice ministry is looking into amending a controversial provision in the prison law that allows convicted prisoners who meet certain requirements to submit a request for conditional release earlier.

The offending provision, passed in May 2018, states that any penalty reduction due to good conduct, as well as any remission of imprisonment from presidential pardons, will be considered beforehand when calculating the length of the sentence.

According to Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis, the ministry was looking into changing the law so that reductions due to good conduct and presidential pardons count in the time served and not the entire sentence.

“This ensures ample reform time for smooth reintegration and protects the whole society from reoffending criminals,” the minister said in a Tweet.

Before the amendment, which was submitted by ruling Disy, prisoners could only apply for parole if they had served half their prison sentence.

The amendment sparked controversy after it transpired that the first to take advantage of the provisions was former deputy attorney-general Rikkos Erotokritou, who was doing time for corruption.

Erotokritou applied to the parole board in June and was released in August, 17 months into a 3.5-year stretch, raising questions about the thinking behind the amendment.

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