More than 70 athletes, including nine prisoners and one ex-offender, are set to run in the Yellow Ribbon half-marathon in Prague at the weekend. The first of four races, the event highlights the importance of supporting the reintegration of former offenders within broader society upon completing their sentence. The charity race takes place on Saturday as part of the broader Sportisimo ½ Marathon.
Five years ago to the day, a wide-ranging amnesty declared by then president Václav Klaus came into effect, freeing more than 6,000 of the Czech Republic’s prisoners from jail. The move helped to ease the overcrowding in Czech prisons, but only temporarily. Today, prison capacity is filled up 106 percent.
Lobbyist Marek Dalík, one-time advisor to prime minister Mirek Topolanek,
turned up at Prague’s Ruzyne prison to start serving a five-year sentence
for corruption on Monday. He was accompanied by his lawyer and refused to
speak to journalists.
Dalík, who was found guilty of soliciting a bribe in connection with a hardware military deal, earlier claimed he was innocent of the charges against him and petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the first four-year sentence. He later even changed his testimony to partially admitting having requested a certain sum of money.
After reviewing the case, the Supreme Court upped his sentence from four to five years. He has already spent seven months in custody.
A Prague court has quashed a lower court’s verdict that the death of a
prisoner from an overdose of methadone was solely a disciplinary issue of
misconduct. The municipal court overruled the earlier decision of the
Prague 4 district court which did not find a criminal case to answer.
A mix up over medical does with prisoners having the same surname resulted in the death of the prisoner at Prague’s Pankrác jail last year with one officer alleged not to have taken steps which could have saved the prisoner’s life.
A pilot project of a so-called open prison is being launched in the Czech
Republic on Monday. The minimum-security prison is located in Jiřice in
the region of Nymburk and is inspired by a prison on Norway’s Bastoy
The purpose of the facility, which resembles a small self-sustaining village, is to prepare detainees for life outside prison. Prisoners will be there without guards, only in the presence of educators or psychologists.
The open prison cost nearly 30 million crowns and can currently accommodate 32 people, Jakub Říman from the justice ministry told the Czech News Agency on Monday.
The Czech Republic’s Constitutional Court has ruled in its recent verdict
that prisoners have right to maintain contact with their children.
The Constitutional Judge overruled a previous verdict issued by a District Court in Brno, which severed ties between a father and his children when the father was imprisoned. It argued that visits to prison would be too traumatic for them. The Constitution Judge stressed in his ruling that prisoners don’t lose their rights to be a parent.
The Innocence Project is a US-based legal organisation that has succeeded in getting hundreds of wrongly convicted people out of prison. The Irish barrister, teacher and writer David Langwallner, who is now based at Prague’s Anglo-American University, set up an Innocence Project in his native country in 2009 and made headlines for winning a posthumous pardon for Harry Gleeson, an innocent man hanged for murder in 1941. When we spoke Langwallner first gave me some background on his organisation.
Czech prisons are overcrowded and unable to offer the stipulated space to inmates. At the end of June there were 1,831 people in custody or facing charges more than the prison service could ideally hold, according to justice ministry figures. The total prison population was 22,794 at the end of June, up from 22,502 at the end of 2016. The numbers have been rising at a slower pace in recent months. Media reports suggest a reorganisation of the prison system creating two types of prisons in place of four has complicated the situation.
More than 200 thousand civil servants will get a wage hike as of July 1st. The hike concerns police officers, soldiers, nurses, fire fighters, prison guards and several other professions which the government considers to be underpaid. The 7 to 10 percent wage hike corresponds to an increase of some 2,000 to 3,000 crowns a month and will require an additional four billion crowns from state coffers.