PRESS RELEASE, 12 September 2013
Prison guards to be trained how to treat prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment
ZHITIKARA – Prison guards in Kazakhstan will learn how to appropriately treat life sentenced prisoners, in a training workshop drawing on international best practice.
The training, to be held on 12-13 September, will be for staff in Kostanay oblast and will aim to increase the knowledge of prison staff about international standards related to persons sentenced to the death penalty or life/long-term imprisonment. It will be run by Penal Reform International in Central Asia, with financial support from the European Union and the German Federal Foreign Office.
‘Unfortunately, there is currently no special training for prison officials on how to treat persons sentenced to life or long-term imprisonment’, said Saule Mektepbayeva, Regional Director of Penal Reform International in Central Asia. ‘Working with this group of prisoners requires particular skills, especially knowledge of international human rights standards. Taking into account the remoteness of the prison, the segregated detention of prisoners and the nature of the offences committed by these prisoners, continuous training of prison guards is the only thing that can guarantee respect for prisoners` human rights and the normal functioning of the prison facility.’
The training, entitled ‘Life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty in Kazakhstan within the framework of adoption of the new Criminal code’, will be given to prison guards in the УК-161/3 facility, and will also involve international experts from the UK and Ukraine.
Currently, more than 100 people are serving life sentences in Kazakhstan. Life imprisonment can be applied for the most severe crimes, as well as being an alternative to the death penalty. While such prisoners may be released on parole after twenty-five years, there are currently no special programmes to help prepare them for release.
The training is being carried out as part of Penal Reform International’s EU-funded, two-year global project on ‘Progressive abolition of the death penalty and the implementation of humane alternative sanctions after a moratorium or abolition’. The European Union has allocated EUR 161 370 for the implementation of this project in Central Asia.
For additional information and accreditation please contact Dinara Dildabekova, PRI project manager, tel./fax: + (7172) 798 885, 798 886, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Karla Jamankulova, Press and Information Officer of the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan, tel.+ (7172) 97-11-48, Karlygash.Jamankulova@eeas.europa.eu.