Cyprus Prisons Department

In Cyprus there is only one correctional institution, the Prisons in Nicosia, which operates under a new and comprehensive legislative and regulatory frame, put in place in 1996 and 1997. This legislation incorporates the European Prison Rules and is consonant to the standards contained in the Council of Europe relevant instruments. The prison in Nicosia caters for all categories of convicted and non convicted prisoners of both sexes and of all age groups from 16 years and over.

Prisoners - Every prisoner has the same right to participate in the various programmes of work, physical exercise, vocational training, education, creative recreation, etc. According to the Prison Regulations, with the exception of lifers, all other prisoners who have served part of their sentence, ranging from 3/12 of the term for sentences up to 2 years, to 1/2 of the terms for sentences over 12 years, are sent to the Open Prison if they have shown excellent conduct and proved trustworthy and industrious and there are no security, disciplinary of other special reasons making it inappropriate. The decision rests with the Classification Committee of the Prisons, which is also entrusted with assigning to the prisoners the appropriate work, providing exit permits and generally assisting the Director of Prisons in the formulation and application of the mode of treatment in prison under the regulations. The last step towards reintegration into the social environment is the emplacement of inmates from the Open Prison, where conditions of reduced security exist, to the Guidance Centre for out of Prison Employment and Rehabilitation of Prisoners, where prisoners serve the rest of their sentence in conditions of controlled freedom.

Prison Programmes and Services - All prisoners are given the opportunity to work, as far as possible, in a type of work of their choosing. To this direction, fully equipped workshops are operated in the prison, where prisoners are encouraged, under the supervision and instructions of trainers, to improve the level of their vocational training by working as cooks, tailors, carpenters, electricians, bookbinders, barbers, gardeners, mechanics and also at the prison farm. There is cooperation between the Prisons Department, the Cyprus Productivity Center and the Ministry of Education in order to improve vocational training.

Prisoners are also encouraged to improve the level of their education and vocational training by attending classes in or outside the prisons or by correspondence courses. Psychological and psychiatric services and support are offered to all prisoners in need on a regular basis, with personal meetings, group discussions and meetings in the presence of the prisoner's family. Welfare service and support is also given to all prisoners, with regular visits/contacts with their families and home leave, in order to facilitate their social integration with free society. Recreational activities include sports, theatre, musical performances and chess games, among others. The prisons are equipped with a theatre hall and grounds for football, volleyball and basketball. The theatrical team of prisoners has staged from 1997 onwards several plays and gave numerous performances in and outside the Prisons. Also the football team meets regularly with students´ and other teams.

The Prison Board - A prisoner may file a complaint with the Prison Board if he/she feels that the prison administration has overlooked or deliberately ignored him/her. This board has access to the institutions and is empowered to talk with inmates in private. It can also evaluate the inmates´ vocational and work programmes. It can hold a hearing about an inmate who has been disciplined in order to determine whether the sentence was just. The board has the authority to overrule in whole or in part any punishment imposed by the prison director.

Source: Press And Information Office, Republic Of Cyprus, 2005