On Monday, the Albanian government decided to temporarily release some prisoners. Those chosen under the new rules will be required to stay at home for a period of three months. After this time, they will return to prison and the three months of home-stay will be deducted from their sentence.
The measures are being introduced to reduce numbers in prison in the hope of curbing the risk of coronavirus spread.
Those that will benefit from the scheme will be minor offenders who have either three years left on their sentence or up to five years but are over 60 and suffer from chronic illness.
Anyone convicted of murder, assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, kidnapping, organised crime, human rights violations, economic crime, theft, and similar offences will not benefit from the stay.
A few days ago, Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj asked the new justice reform institutions, the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) and the High Judicial Council (KLGj) to consider the possibility of prison sentences for chronically ill people being turned into alternative punishment, such as fine or community work.
It is unclear how this can be achieved when only the court can reverse this decision and only on a case-by-case basis.