Proposed bill removes options for repeat offender parole ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa).
Justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Scope for early prison release for serious offenders is to be reduced under proposed legislation. Crimes covered include treason against the state, as well as serious violent or sexual crimes.

The Ministry of Justice has prepared a bill which would preclude early prison release for those jailed for treason, "crimes against humanity", repeat sexual offenses and repeat homicides.

The bill will remove options for parole in such cases, justice minister Raivo Aeg (Isamaa) says.

"At present all prisoners are entitled to a court consideration of parole after a certain proportion of their sentence has been served," Aeg said.

"This amendment would preclude the early release of offenders whose crimes stand out in their cruelty, social reprehensibility and the major physical and mental sufferings that they entail," Aeg said.

"A prior punishment for a similar offense is a strong indication that a convicted person has not managed to improve their behavior during the [previous] time spent in prison and may continue to commit serious offenses against the person," Aeg went on.  

The law would not be applied retrospectively to those recidivists already imprisoned, however.

The early release regime has remained largely unchanged in Estonia since the current Penal Code entered force nearly 20 years ago.

 Since 2007, prisons have automatically had to send potential parole cases to the courts after a set portion of a sentence has been served, rather than weighing up themselves whether to send the materials, as had previously been the case.

 Around 1,400 such parole cases are heard by the courts every year, with over 30 percent of prisoners serving sentences released on parole over the past six years.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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