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Govt publishes prison Bill

The Government will bring a Bill to Parliament that, if passed, will overhaul Gibraltar’s parole system by increasing the minimum time inmates must serve before being eligible for parole.

The Prison (Amendment) Bill 2019 gives effect to the proposed changes set out in a Command Paper published last month.

The proposals increase the minimum time to be served for inmates serving a fixed-term sentence, from the current third, to half of their sentence.

The Bill sets out three different categories based on the overall length of the sentence.

Firstly, automatic, unconditional release at the midpoint of sentence for those serving sentences of 12 months or less.

Secondly, automatic release at the midpoint of sentence, with conditions imposed by the Parole Board, for those inmates serving sentences greater than 12 months up to four years.

And lastly eligibility for release with conditions at the midpoint of sentence for those serving sentences greater than four years. The prisoner will be eligible to apply to the Parole Board as is currently the case.

The legislative proposals are based on a series of recommendations made to the Government by the Law Commission.

Justice Minister Neil Costa said: “It gives me great pleasure to have published this Bill. I wish to sincerely thank the Law Commission for the vital work they have carried out in advising the Government on these important reforms to the Prison Act.”

“I am confident that this Bill achieves the objectives of deterring persons from committing criminal offences, protecting the public and promoting successful reintegration into the community.”