Only a quarter of parole applications successful

Miguela Xuereb

A quarter of applications for parole made in the past 4 years have been successful, figures tabled in Parliament show.

Statistics tabled by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in response to a parliamentary question by Opposition MP Ivan Bartolo show that 280 applications for parole have been made since 2017, but just 70 were successful.

The success rate remained largely constant during the period, ranging from 22.6% so far this year to 27.3% in 2018.

The concept of parole was introduced in Malta in 2012, through the Restorative Justice Act.

A 9-member Parole Board chaired by a retired judge can decide to grant an early release for prison to inmates, who will need to satisfy certain criteria before applying.

Only prisoners who have received a jail term of at least 12 months may apply, and only if they have served at least a third of their sentence: a proportion that goes up to 50% for jail terms of over 2 years and to 58% for longer jail terms. Prisoners who have been jailed for life are not eligible for parole.

But parole is far from automatic, as the low success rate confirms.

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