“The 2012-2016 programs for Judicial and Լegal Ռeforms envisaged introduction of the Probation Service in the RA as well. One of the most important problems of this institute is the public attitude,” Arshak Gasparyan, President of “Social Justice” NGO, and one of the authors of this program says.
“The service will be able to function, however it will face problems as well, such as administrative, technical, legal, including the training of judges, for taking corresponding decisions, training of the prosecutors, as well as referring to penitentiary system and the Investigative Committee. These are the main bodies who will order the probation service. One of the most important issues is the attitude of the public as the convict to whom the probation as an alternative sentence for imprisonment is applied, will stay on their side,” Mr. Gasparyan said.
He also said that there are various forms of surveillance and control, “The person will serve his punishment within the society, so we must understand that the punishment does not mean jail, and it also does not mean that the person, who is among the society, is not serving his sentence. The society, which we represent as members should understand this and be ready to see and accept those people – the convicts next to us. The most important feature here is the ensuring of social and psychological readiness of the society to live under the same roof with the convict, in the same community, same building, and even the same workplace,” the NGO leader said.
Mr. Gasparyan, said that the successful implementation of the reforms was due to the will of the state, so that the strategy of the judicial reforms that was approved by the president and the actions issuing form that strategy were implemented. He also mentioned the need of allocation financial resources, as well as the necessity of diligence and consistency.
Mr. Gasparyan mentioned that we were a little behind of from the aspect of introduction of the service: “If it was formed in 2014 we should have had it in 2015, but we still do not have it. We are a little behind. We could have the service back in 2004, when we were forming the social, psychological and legal working departments of the rehabilitation service in the penal department. Talking about the 2012-2016 strategy program I should mention here that we have fallen back again, which according to officials is due to technical problems and financial resources. I think that this is due to the will of our officials, particularly the judiciary, prosecution, banking, and penitentiary services. As soon as there is the will, everything that we need, including finances and other necessary provisions will appear,” Arshak Gasparyan said.
However, according to him, , there is enough time for the introduction of probation until 2016. “If we shall put together the 4 phases, the prison, post-prison, pre-trial and trial, in case of great will and desire it is likely that in June 2016 we shall have a well established service.”
According to the NGO leader, the probation service must work under the Ministry of Justice, independently from the prison system. He believes that in this case we shall have a well established and functioning Probation System.