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Sex offender resocialization funds lacking

  • 2008-11-26
  • In cooperation with BNS

State Probation services says that jail does not reform the criminals

RIGA- The Latvian parliament committee for human rights and publicaffairs is worried about the lack of funds for the program for resocializationof sex offenders.

 The parliament press service reported that on Nov. 25, thecommittee visited the Probation Service to study the work of the agency and its2009 funding. The lawmakers are concerned that no money has been allocated forthe program of resocialization of sex offenders in the coming year.

"The society has a reason to blame the state and the government forunacceptably high number of cases when children are sexually abused or evendie. Financing must be found for safety of the society and the children,because it is inadmissible to fight the consequences instead of thecauses," said MP Janis Smits, the chairman of the parliament committee.

The lawmakers will ask the state to find the financing for solving theseproblems in 2009.

"Economizing at the expense of child safety is an unpardonable crime," saidSmits.

The State Probation Service head Aleksandrs Dementjevs confirmed that nomoney has been allocated for the programs aimed at correcting social behaviorby sex offenders. To prevent the reoccurrence of sex crimes, the ProbationService in 2008 carried out a treatment program at the penitentiaries. Therewere preparations to continue the program in 2009, working with the sexoffenders after their release from the jail.

"Jail does not and will not reform the convicts, unless something isdone with them there. The world practice of probation programs shows that humanbehavior can be reformed in about 50 percent of cases," said Dementjevs.

Implementation of both parts of the program would cost 300,000 lats (427,000euro) annually, reported Justice Ministry experts, but only those measures thatdo not require additional funds had been left on the ministry's action plan forprevention of sex crimes against minors for 2009.

The programs for correction of sex offenders as well as educational measuresdesigned to help identify the cases of child abuse have been put off until2010.

Starting January 1, 2009, the Probation Service has to let go 48 of its 521employees, and the Valmiera social rehabilitation center where the ex-convictscould stay for a year after release and receive help in finding in a place tolive and a job will also be close for lack of financing.