2001 – Home Leave

Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl’s 2001 National Campaign

Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl proposed the Home Leave system as a true incentive to prisoners, and as a serious support to their families. In a few words, Home Leave is a system with which a prisoner is given the possibility to visit, under certain conditions, his close relatives or intimate friends every month at home.

What follows is the basic document issued by Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl as a guide for the national campaign.

The Home Leave proposal is mainly intended to diminish some bad side-effects of the administration of penal justice, particularly in relation to the families of prisoners, to the administration of discipline at the prisons, and to the affective verve of prisoners.

Disordered justice?

Every crime creates some kind of disorder. The courts try to correct that disorder with the least possible bad effects for all the parties involved.

Incarceration, as a corrective punishment, is one of the most disciplinary means that, notwithstanding the good intentions of the courts and legislators, effectively creates bad effects in diverse sectors. These bad effects increase whenever the situation at the prisons is counter-productive to the intentions of justice administrators.

The present situation at the prisons is such that the prisoners therein live a life of “reclusive vagrancy”. The larger part of the prisoners simply sit idle from morning till night. If they are not narrating their criminal experiences to each other, with many a flourish and much colouring, and thus learning each other’s criminal methods, they merely act like kindergarten children, and tease each other. The wardens and the most weak prisoners are their most facile and common target.

The prisons, then, reacting to this situation, is organised in such a way so as to function as a “sedative”. It is intended to cause a soothing effect on the prisoners in order to quieten their disordered fantasies and whims. The prison authorities, in fact, are particularly adept to do two things: first, not to allow any prisoner to escape; and, secondly, to keep the prisoners as still as possible (and use punishments to this effect).

Main aims of the Home Leave proposal

The Home Leave proposal is intended to:

  • Provide a serious incentive to sentenced prisoners so as to behave themselves while incarcerated
  • Facilitate order and discipline within the prisons
  • Increases prisoners’ self-confidence
  • Balances the affective emotions of prisoners and their close relations (including children)
  • Sustains the family relationships of prisoners

Operating the Home Leave system

The attainment of Home Leave by a prisoner shall be automatic under the following conditions:

  • It shall be attained once a month
  • A prisoner shall be eligible for Home Leave after served one third of at least one of his sentences (commuted without the removal of remission)
  • During his Home Leave a prisoner shall be accompanied by only one security officer
  • Only one Home Leave may be missed if, in the period from the preceding Home Leave, a prisoner was found to have violated some prison rule
  • Any serious abuse on the part of a prisoner during his Home Leave makes him/her ineligible for Home Leave for the rest of his/her sentence
  • The definition of “family” in this proposal shall be according to the dispositions of the Prison Regulations

Home Leave as an incentive

Prisoners would behave better and make a more economical use of their time if they had incentives to do these. Nobody does anything for nothing. And prisoners are no exception. Like everybody else they need encouragement and support.

An incentive in a person’s life means that s/he has a reason for which to do something, an aim with which s/he acquires some advantage for himself. The prisoner, whose whole life is controlled by others, and who does not have the freedom of doing anything without the permission of others, needs a lot of encouragement. It is true that s/he has to pay his debts to society, but this does not mean that he should not have motives for his actions.

When a prison has an incentive encouraging him/her to behave, at the same time he will have a good and sufficient reason to distance him/herself from bad actions.

Unfortunately, the current system at the prisons has few incentives, if any, even if the new regulations mention incentives in various articles. The present system, in fact, insists more on punishments than incentives. This system is wrong, and only helps the prisoner’s situation to deteriorate.

The principle to be used in a system of incentives is this: reward good behaviour to avoid bad behaviour. Our prisons do not use this principle very much.

An incentive not a privilege

What shall be now stated rests very much on the Woolf Report. This report was issued by Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf in 1991 with the aim of reforming the penal and corrective systems inEnglandandWales. The report is the most authoritative document on prison matters that was issued inEuropefor these last hundred years.

Some matters at the prisons are called “privileges”. Considering the circumstances, it is a very incorrect word to use. The Woolf Report expressly stated that such matters “should not be described as privileges”. The word normally indicates some advantage given to someone due to some special grace.

Privileges are matters that are still considered necessary in prison life. For example, it is called a privilege that a prisoner calls his/her family once a day, or that s/he meets his family once a week under surveillance, or that s/he possesses a radio or television in his/her little cell, or even that s/he goes and returns from work outside the facility during the last three months of his/her sentence.

A privilege, then, is called so since it can be revoked as a punishment against some infringement of prison regulations.

The Woolf Report states that “these facilities should be part of a prisoner’s normal expectation”. This is far from what exists inMalta’s prisons today. But this was also the situation inEnglandandWalesbefore the reforms made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf.

In fact, the Report states thus: “A system of incentives cannot be grafted onto the system of ‘privileges’. A system of minor incentives would be hard to administer fairly and without fear of prejudice. Incentives should be built into the prison system”.

Is Home Leave just another privilege?

As the Woolf Report stated, the system of incentives and the system of privileges must not be adopted together. The system of privileges is out-dated and, as the Woolf Report itself stated: “the discretion allowed to governors to grant and withdraw selected ‘privileges’ has left prisoners aggrieved, and with some justification”.

Home Leave is not yet another privilege, but a serious and powerful incentive to reward good behaviour and avoid bad behaviour. As an incentive, Home Leave is also most efficacious, since it simultaneously goes to the root of many problems, mostly because of the bad effects caused by the separation from the family.

Problems generated by the separation from the family

The separation from the family:

  • Creates problems due to lack of sexual relief, both to the prisoner and to those who close to him/her with ties of matrimony and/or affection
  • Estranges sons and daughters from their parents, and vice versa
  • Encourages matrimonial infidelity
  • Facilitates lack of knowledge of familiar problems on the part of the prisoner
  • Emphasizes the lack of support of the prisoner in family responsibilities
  • Increases the sense of isolation in those who are close to the prisoner with ties of matrimony and/or affection
  • Breaks up the family

Home Leave in other countries

The Home Leave system, though called with different names (“conjugal visits”, etc.), is used successfully in many other countries that are much larger than ours, and in which the situation is much more complicated than ours. In certain countries, their version of Home Leave is used without the surveillance of security officers.

The Woolf Report was in favour that system such as Home Leave be given greater importance and space. “Home leave should be extended,” stated the Report, “Home leave should not be confined just to long term prisoners. Home leave restores prisoners’ self-confidence, helps maintain family relationships, and is an incentive to behave well in prison. It also eases pressure on prisoners and on staffing.” The Report insists that “provision should be made for private family visits for prisoners serving long sentences”.

The family cherishes very much family values together with the cohesion and solidity they generate to the social fabric. Home Leave is a means with which families of prisoners do not crumble away but, on the contrary, continue to grow stronger. This benefits the prisoners themselves, their families and children, and all the Maltese society.




Verzjoni bil-Malti

Kampanja Nazzjonali ta’ Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl fl-2001

Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl ipproponiet is-sistema tal-Home Leave bhala incentiv veru fil-habs u bhala appogg serju lill-familji tal-prigunieri. Fi ftit kliem, il-Home Leave hija sistema li biha resident fil-habs jinghata l-possibbiltà li jzur qraba jew intimi tieghu kull xahar taht certu kundizzjonijiet.

Dan li gej huwa d-dokument baziku li xandret Mid-Dlam ghad-Dawl bhala gwida ghall-kampanja nazzjonali taghha.

Il-proposta tal-HOME LEAVE hija mahsuba l-aktar sabiex it-thaddim tal-gustizzja tnaqqas kemm jista’ jkun l-effetti dizordinati taghha fil-hajja tal-familji tal-habsin, fl-amministrazzjoni tad-dixxiplina fil-habs u fl-affezzjonijiet tal-habsin.

Gustizzja dizordnata?

Kull reat johloq dizordni. Il-qrati jhaddmu l-gustizzja b’tali mod li jippruvaw jikkoregu dik id-dizordni mahluqaminnreat bl-anqas effetti hziena possibbli ghall-partijiet kollha nvoluti.

Il-habs, bhala kastig korrettiv, huwa wiehed mill-aktar mizuri dixxiplinarji li fil-fatt, minkejja l-intenzjonijiet tajba tal-legislaturi, johloq effetti hziena f’hafna oqsma. Dawn l-effetti jizdiedu meta l-qaghda tal-habs tkun kontro-producenti ghall-intenzjonijiet ta’ l-amministraturi tal-gustizzja.

Il-qaghda kurrenti tal-habs hija tali li fiha l-habsin ighixu hajja ta’ “vagabondagg rekluz”: il-bicca l-kbira tal-habsin ma jaghmlu xejn il-gurnata kollha. Jekk ma jkunux qeghdin jaqsmu l-esperjenza kriminali taghhom ma’ xulxin u jitghallmu l-metodi delinkwenti ta’ xulxin, jaraw ma’ min jew ma’ xiex se jaqbdu. L-ufficjali u l-awtoritajiet tal-habs huma l-vittmi jew il-mira l-aktar komuni u facli taghhom.

Il-habs, ghalhekk, biex jilqa’ ghal din il-qaghda, hu mfassal b’tali mod biex johloq “effett sedattiv”: huwa ntenzjonat li jhalli effett bhal ta’ kalmant fuq il-mizmuma biex iraqqad fihom it-tnebbih dizordnat ta’ mohhhom. L-awtoritajiet tal-habs, infatti, huma partikularment attenti biex jaghmlu zewg affarijiet: wahda, li ma jhallu ebda habsi jaharbilhom; u, it-tieni, li l-habsin joqghodu kwieti kemm jista’ jkun (u, ghalhekk, jikkastigawh jekk ma joqghodx).

Il-ghanijiet tal-HOME LEAVE

Il-proposta tal-HOME LEAVE hija mahsuba li tilhaq dawn l-ghanijiet ewlenin:

  • Tohloq incentiva serja ghall-habsin sentenzjati sabiex joqghodu bil-ghaqal waqt iz-zamma taghhom
  • Tiffacilita z-zamma ta’ l-ordni u d-dixxiplina fil-habs
  • Tkabbar is-self-confidence tal-habsin
  • Tibbilancja l-emozzjonijiet affettivi tal-habsin u ta’ l-eqreb familjari taghhom (inkluz it-tfal)
  • Issostni r-relazzjonijiet familjari tal-habsin
  • Kif tista’ tinhadem il-HOME LEAVE.

Il-kisba tal-HOME LEAVEminnhabsi tkun awtomatika:

  • Tkun tista’ tinkiseb darba kull xahar
  • Tkun tista’ tibda tinkiseb wara li l-habsi jkun skonta terz ta’ ghall-anqas wahda mis-sentenzi moghtija lilu mill-qorti (minghajr it-tnaqqis tar-remission)
  • Fil-HOME LEAVE tieghu habsi jkun akkumpanjatminnufficjal wiehed tas-sigurta’
  • Okkazjoni wahda ta’ HOME LEAVE tintilefminnhabsi jekk fix-xahar ta’ qabilha jkun instab hati ta’ reat kontra d-dixxiplina tal-habs
  • Kull abbuz serju ta’ habsi waqt il-HOME LEAVE tieghu ttellfu milli jgawdi mill-incentiv ghall-bqija tas-sentenza tieghu
  • Id-definizzjoni ta’ ‘familja’ fl-incentiv tal-HOME LEAVE tkun skond id-disposizzjonijiet tar-Regolamenti tal-Habs.

Il-HOME LEAVE bhala ncentiv

Il-habin igibu ruhhom ahjar u jaghmlu uzu aktar siewiminnhinhom fil-habs jekk ikollhom incentivi ghal dan l-iskop. Hadd ma jaghmel xejn ghal xejn. U l-habsin m’humiex aghar jew ahjarminnhaddiehor. Huma bhal kulhadd li jridu ’l min jaghmlilhom kuragg u jheggighom.

Li bniedem ikollu ncentiv f’hajtu jfisser li jkollu xi skop ghal xiex ghandu jaghmel xi haga, skop li bih jikseb xi vantagg ghalih innifsu. Il-habsi, li hajtu hi kollha kemm hi ikkontrollataminnhaddiehor, u m’ghandu ebda liberta’ jaghmel xi haga minghajr il-permess ta’ haddiehor, irid ’il min jaghmillu hafna kuragg f’hajtu. Tassew li ghandu jhallas ta’ dak li ghamel, imma dan ma jfissirx li m’ghandux ikollu motiv ghall-azzjonijiet tieghu.

Metahabsi jkollu ncentivi li jhajruh joqghod bil-ghaqal, fl-istess hin dan ifisser li jkollu raguni tajba u sufficjenti biex jitbieghed mill-imgieba hazina.

B’xorti hazina, is-sistema karcerarja li qieghda tintuza bhalissa ftit ghandha ncentivi, ghalkemm ir-regolamenti l-godda jitkellmu dwarhom f’ghadd ta’ artikli. Is-sistema wzata bhalissa tishaq aktar fuq il-kastigi milli fuq l-incentivi. Din hi sistema hazina li tgharraq is-sitwazzjoni ta’ habsi aktar milli qatt tista’ tghinnu.

Il-principju li jrid jintuza fis-sistema ta’ l-incentivi huwa dan: ippremja mgieba tajba biex tevita l-imgieba hazina. Il-habs taghna bhalissa ftit ihaddem dan il-principju.

Incentiv mhuwiex privilegg

Dan li se jinghad issa jserrah hafna fuq il-Woolf Report. Il-Woolf Report inhareg mill-Imhallef Woolf fl-1991 in vista tar-riforma penitenzjarja u karcerarja ta’ l-Ingilterra uWales. Ir-Report huwa l-aktar dokument awtorevoli fl-Ewropa fil-qasam tal-habs f’dawn l-ahhar 100 sena.

Hemm hwejjeg fil-habs li jissejhu ‘privileggi’. Hija kelma mill-aktar zbaljata fic-cirkustanzi. Il-Woolf Report kien qal espressament li dawn il-hwejjeg “should not be described as privileges”. Bi ‘privilegg’ normalment nifhmu xi vantagg moghti lil xi hadd bi grazzja specjali.

Il-‘privileggi’ huma affarijiet li ghandhom jitqiesu bhala mehtiega fil-hajja tal-habs. Nghidu ahna, jissejjah ‘privilegg‘ li wiehed icempel darba kuljum lill-familja tieghu, jew li wiehed jiltaqa’ mal-familja tieghu darba fil-gimgha taht skorta, jew li jzomm radju jew television ckejken fic-cella tieghu, jew anki li habsi johrog jahdem bla skorta fl-ahhar tliet xhur tas-sentenza tieghu.

Il-‘privilegg’, allura, jissejjah tali ghaliex jista’ jigi rrevokat bhala kastig ghal xi reat kontra d-dixxiplina tal-habs.

Il-Woolf Report jghid li “these facilities should be part of a prisoner’s normal expectation”. Dan huwa ’l boghodminndak li jezisti llum fil-habs ta’Malta. Imma din kienet ukoll is-sitwazzjoni fl-Ingilterra uWalesqabel il-bidliet li ppropona l-Imhallef Woolf.

Infatti, ir-Report jghid hekk: “A system of incentives cannot be grafted onto the system of ‘privileges’. A system of minor incentives would be hard to administer fairly and without fear of prejudice. Incentives should be built into the prison system”.

s Il-HOME LEAVE ‘privilegg iehor’? Kif qal il-Woolf Report is-sistema ta’ incentivi u s-sistema ta’ ‘privileggi’ m’ghandhomx jithaddmu flimkien. Is-sistema tal-‘privileggi’ wzata bhalissa hija antikwata u, kif qal il-Woolf Report stess, “the discretion allowed to governors to grant and withdraw selected ‘priveleges’ has left prisoners aggreved, and with some justification”.

Il-HOME LEAVE m’huwiex privilegg iehor, imma ncentiv serju u qawwi biex jippremja mgieba tajba u jevita mgieba hazina. Huwa ncentiv ta’ effikacja kbira ghax imiss l-gherq ta’ hafna problemi f’salt, l-aktar minhabba l-konsegwenzi koroh li ggib il-firda mill-familja.

Problemi mahluqa mill-firda mill-familja

Il-firda mill-familja:

  • Tohloq problemi ta’ nuqqas ta’ sfog sesswali kemm fil-habsi kif ukoll fil-persuni qrib tieghu matrimonjalment u affettivament
  • Taghmel lill-ulied isiru strangieri ghal missierhom jew ommhom, u bil-maqlub
  • Tinkoraggixxi l-infedelta’ matrimonjali
  • Tiffacilita’ in-nuqqas ta’ gharfien tal-problemi familjari min-naha tal-habsi
  • Tenfasizza n-nuqqas ta’ appogg min-naha tal-habsi fit-toqol tal-familja
  • Tkabbar is-sens ta’ izolament tal-persuni matrimonjalment jew affettivament qrib il-habsi
  • Izzid is-sens ta’ htija fil-habsi
  • Tfarrak il-familji

Il-HOME LEAVE f’pajjizi ohra

Is-sistema tal-HOME LEAVE, ghalkemm tissejjah b’suriet differenti (“conjugal visits” u l-bqija), tithaddem b’success f’pajjizi ohra hafna akbarminntaghna fejn is-sitwazzjoni hija ferm aktar kumplessaminntaghna. F’certi pajjizi, il-verzjoni taghhom tal-HOME LEAVE sahansitra ssir minghajr l-iskorta.

Il-Woolf Report kien favur li sistemi bhal dawn jinghataw aktar spazji. “Home leave should be extended,” jghid ir-Report, “Home leave should not be confined just to long term prisoners. Home leave restores prisoners’ self-confidence, helps maintain family relationships, and is an incentive to behave well in prison. It also eases pressure on prisoners and on staffing.” Ir-Report jinsisti li “provision should be made for private family visits for prisoners serving long sentences”.

Is-socjeta’ taghna hi wahda li thobb il-familja u tghozz il-gabra u l-ghaqda taghha. Il-HOME LEAVE huwa mezz kif il-familji tal-habsin ma jitfarrkux, izda jkomplu jissahhu ghall-gid taghhom infushom u ghas-socjeta’ Maltija kollha.