Under the plan, prisoners with a good record of behavior and who have served at least a quarter of their sentence could request vacations from prison from time to time, such as a week to visit their families and community.
A group of prison experts from Spain promoted the idea during a forum at the Legislative Assembly. The plan could potentially be added to the Draft National Prisons Service Act, which was presented by lawmaker Carlos Gongora on August 12th.
“How do you prove if an inmate is able to live in society if all he does is live in a prison? The benefits are wonderful for the prisoner because he can visit his family ever so often, such as Christmas, allowing them to have contact with the community to which they will return,” said Carlos Garcia, a criminal lawyer that was part of the Spanish delegation.
Such prison furloughs have applied in Spain since 1979, regulated by that country’s Prison Act. Garcia said he was “surprised” to learn that Costa Rica did not have a similar system.
The plan would allow for a maximum of 36 days per year outside the prison walls, at a maximum of 6 days at a time. Time spent away from the prison would be completely unsupervised.
The Spanish delegation will be in Costa Rica until September 27th to continue discussing the plan with officials of the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice and the Legislative Assembly.