The Lithuanian parliament has endorsed a package of laws to encourage employment among prison inmates. If passed, the minister of justice expects it would cut re-offending rates.
Introducing the bill in the parliament, Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius said it would no longer pay off for inmates not to work.
“We have two key goals: to reduce re-offending [...] and also to promote employment, education and work among convicts,” the minister said.
Lithuania leads in the European Union with a reoffending rate of 62 percent, the minister noted.
Lawmakers gave their unanimous initial backing to the proposed amendment which will now go to the parliamentary Committees on Legal Affairs and Social Affairs and Labour for further debate.
Jankevičius pointed out that many people leave prison having lost their working skills. They reoffend and return to correction facilities, finding themselves in a vicious circle.
“To avoid that, we propose a new employment package that would encourage inmates to work. Only by working and taking part in resocialization programmes, will convicts be able to expect incentives like meetings with family members, phone calls, and the possibility to shop in stores inside the facility,” the minister said.
The amendments would also create opportunities for employing convicts outside correctional facilities with a clearer motivation system.
Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that 41 percent of convicts are engaged in some sort of employment at correctional facilities.