Poland’s liberal government to release 20,000 criminals early

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Poland’s justice ministry aims to release approximately 20,000 prisoners “due to overcrowding in the country’s prisons,” Polish Deputy Minister of Justice Maria Ejchart announced in an interview with the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. She also admitted that the first early releases have already occurred.

Ejchart stated that all 580 cells in Poland holding more than 10 inmates were closed by the end of January.

“Usually, there were 14 or 16 people in them. In such a situation, there is no possibility of resocialization,” the official said.

“In fact, the prisons are overcrowded. The main reason for this is the severity of penalties introduced by the previous conservative government,” she said, adding that the codification committee for criminal law, appointed in recent days, will work on liberalizing criminal law. 

She also mentioned plans to expand the use of electronic monitoring.

“Without any changes, we can already use this solution for around 4,000 people,” she said.

When asked how many prisoners the new policy would affect, the deputy justice minister said that her goal “for this term is to reduce the number of prisoners by 20,000,” and disclosed that the first releases have already taken place.

Meanwhile, according to a recently issued statement by the Polish Prison Service, “as of March 15, the population of prisons and pre-trial detention centers nationwide stands at 88.75 percent of capacity.”

According to the 2023 figures, maintaining Poland’s prison system costs 3 billion zlotys (€700 million) a year.

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