Essay on Open Prison Institutions in European Countries !
Reformation of prisoners and their rehabilitation through modern methods of penal treatment has also been engaging the attention of penologists throughout the European sub-continent. With greater emphasis on correctional methods, there has been a general trend towards substitution of traditional prison system by new types of semi-liberty institutions.
Different countries have adopted open prisons for their delinquents with varying degree of security measures.
In Netherlands, open prisons were established at Roermond, Hoorn and Wamsveld in 1957, 1959 and 1962, respectively. These were meant to serve as a traditional place within the framework of pre-release treatment between the period of prisoners’ detention in a closed institution and his return to free life. The inmates of these open prisons are allowed to mingle freely with members of society while at work as also during leisure.
The number of inmates in each of these institutions is limited to a maximum of twenty-five so that their individual progress can be conveniently watched by competent supervisors. The inmates for these prisons are selected from among the prisoners of different prisons on the basis of recommendations made by the Central Selection Committee which meets monthly.
These open prisons are meant only for those inmates who are recidivists and have served a part of their sentence in well guarded prison. The inmate’s stay in the open camp cannot exceed five months. These open prisons are located in nearby provincial towns so that the prisoners have adequate chances of being engaged as wage-eamers by the private enterpreneurs.
Of the total wage earnings of the inmate, thirty per cent is deposited in his name to be paid to him at the time of his final release whereas ten per cent is paid to him for his pocket expense. The inmates are, however, expected to spend their leisure time within the institutional framework with opportunities to visit the places of entertainment and recreation. They can meet their friends and relatives without any supervision and are also free to put on clothes of their choice.
France has an open prison institution in Casabianca and a semi-open Institution in Oermingen. The inmates in these institutions go for work as free workers without any supervision and they return to the prison every evening or during non-working days. The scope for expansion of open air camps in France is rather limited because the traditional prison system of this country allows prisoners to work outside the institution with private employers under proper supervision. This makes the system less expensive and prevents undue exploitation of the inmates.
Norway and Sweden:
Norway and Sweden also established open prisons for their offenders. There are special arrangements for lodging the drug addicts, habituals and drunkards. Separate institutions called “Educational Centres” have also been set up for the treatment of the young delinquents. The inmates are trusted and their sense of honour and self-respect is stimulated. This helps in bringing about their reformation.