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Title: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the imposition and implementation of alternatives to prison and preparation of individuals for release in Portugal
Authors: Rodrigues, Anabela Miranda 
Antunes, Maria João 
Fidalgo, Sónia 
Pinto, Inês Horta
Ishiy, Karla Tayumi 
Issue Date: Jan-2022
Publisher: Penal Reform International; Universidade de Coimbra
Place of publication or event: Den Haag
Abstract: Introductory Note : This report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the imposition and implementation of alternative sentences and the preparation of individuals for release from prison in Portugal is part of the international project Addressing gaps in the implementation and management of alternatives to imprisonment and post-release support during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The project is funded by the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation and coordinated by Penal Reform International, in partnership with the Institute for Legal Research of the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra and the non-governmental organisation Hungarian Helsinki Committee, between March and December 2021. The aims of the project are: “to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use, implementation and experience of non-custodial sentences; to raise awareness and engage government stakeholders with practical recommendations to take (urgent and systemic) steps to protect the rights of people serving probation, ensuring that during times of crisis and national adversity adaptions, do not discriminate and those serving probation receive adequate supervision and are able to complete their sentence; to develop a model of reform with evidence-based recommendations applicable internationally for the improved implementation of alternatives to imprisonment during times of national or international crisis or emergency which expand their use and do not discriminate in who they are given to or how they are managed.” Along with other activities carried out for the project, a comparative study was conducted in the Member States of the European Union,1 based on national reports prepared by experts from those countries and interviews conducted with representatives of the prison and probation services in some states. In four countries (Portugal, Hungary, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) local research teams conducted in-depth studies, producing independent reports.2 The report presented here is the result of the Portuguese study, carried out by a research team from the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra. The research methodology adopted for this study included a review of the bibliography, including both academic articles and official information and other documents published on the subject, as well as an analysis of the relevant national legislation. The collection of official and institutional data was carried out via questionnaires sent to the Directorate-General for the Probation and Prison Services (DGRSP), which were answered in writing; and also through interviews with DGRSP managers and officers with diverse experiences from different geographical areas; the participation of a DGRSP representative in a meeting of experts organized by Penal Reform International for the project3; and analysis of the statistics published by the DGRSP.4 In order to collate the perspectives and experiences of persons serving community sentences and of non-governmental organisations working on the social reintegration of sentenced persons, interviews were conducted with representatives of civil society organisations, always with informed consent. These included both organisations that focus specifically on assisting sentenced persons situations of vulnera serving a nonbility and persons belonging to minorities. and organisations which support persons in 6 An interview with a person custodial sentence (home detention) was also conducted. c In addition, onsultations were held at the Lisbon Court responsible for the implementation of sentences, with a view to understanding how the procedures had to be adapted during the pandemic, and what the main constraints had been along with the difficulties in applying the extraordinary release measures. Meetings were also held with the Ombuds person and the Inspect orateGeneral of Justice Services in order to inquire about complaints or grievances lodged with these offices from those released from prison or serving noncustodial complaints related to the exceptional release 5 sentences during the pandemic or any other measures adopted in April 2020.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FDUC- Relatórios Técnicos

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