Reducing the Use of Custodial Sentences in Line with European Standards

Dates:      2 May 2013 - 30 April 2014
Duration: 12 months
Budget:    EUR 300 000
Donor:      Government of Norway (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway)
Partners: Ministry of Justice (including the Penitentiary Department), Judiciary, General Prosecutor’s Office, Police, Civil Society organizations etc.

The project on “Reducing use of custodial sentences in line with European standards” was part of the Council of Europe (CoE) Action plan for Armenia 2012-2014. The project was made possible with the voluntary contribution of the Government of Norway.
The Project aimed at bringing the Armenian prison system closer to the European Prison Rules and other European Probation Rules, Recommendations of the Council of Europe and the standards of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the best European practices.
Project objectives were fully in line with the 2012-2016 Action Plan for Legal and Judicial Reforms of the Republic of Armenia. Through the course if implementation the Project focused on raising the awareness of alternative sanctions and measures, on the need to extend the use of such sentences and on the importance of establishing a mechanism for supervision of the implementation of non-custodial sentences.
The main accomplishments of the project include:

  • Fact-finding mission and development of needs-assessment report (Please click here to see the report);
  • Qualitative and quantitative survey and a study on reoffending (Please click here to see the report);
  • Study on cost efficiency of non-custodial sentences (Please click here to see the study);
  • Training seminars on the best European practices for more than 70 judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other professionals;
  • Conference to raise awareness on the role of alternative sanctions and measures;
  • Two study visits to Council of Europe member states (Romania and Ireland) with the best practices in the area of probation;
  • Publication of three CoE recommendations on:
  1.  probation (Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)1of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Council of Europe Probation Rules),
  2.  early release (Recommendation Rec(2003)22 of the Committee of Ministers to member stateson conditional release (parole),
  3. and electronic monitoring (Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on electronic monitoring)

The Project created a solid basis for the new project on the establishment of two pilot probation units in Armenia.