Period of implementation: March, 2006 – March, 2008
Achievements in the first year of the project
As a result of the first phase of the implementation of the two-year project Role of the Community in the Substitution of Prison Sentences, during which a nation-wide field research was conducted on alternative measures and their importance and enforcement, as well as the formal system’s role in the process of their implementation, the Project Coordinator prepared a report on Assessing the Situation Concerning Alternative Measures in the Republic of Macedonia. The Report is based on interviews with representatives of district attorneys, courts, social workers and municipalities, as key bodies in the enforcement and practicing of alternative sanctions and measures.
The conclusions of the research included in the Report were presented on a round table of experts, members of the working group implementing project activities as well as representatives of all the bodies involved in the implementation of alternative measures. Their presentations and the discussion that followed lead to the following conclusions and recommendations:
The system of criminal sanctions in the Republic of Macedonia demands for implementation of alternative measures. Since the bodies directly involved in the implementation of the alternative measures significantly lack information we need to prepare explanations of the meaning of alternative, concrete measures and activities based on which the responsible bodies could implement alternative measures, description of how to achieve cooperation between the central and local government in the Republic of Macedonia, meaning that the bodies will know how to act during implementation of alternative measures.
The first steps to be taken in order to involve the community in this mater are legislative, i.e. the Law on Local Self-Government should contain responsibilities for those enforcing alternative measures in the local community. A bylaw also needs to be prepared that would oblige the municipality to participate and to take responsibility for the implementation of alternative measures. All staff needs to be educated and ZELS needs to urgently involve the local community and raise public awareness, raising the level of the importance of alternative measures. In order to successfully implement alternative measures we also need to detect non-governmental organizations that will be involved in the process of implementation.
Activities in the second year of the project
During May and June for the purposes of providing detailed information to organizations and institutions who could get involved in the process of implementing alternative measures, the project coordinator in cooperation with legal experts will prepare a brochure which will contain information useful for citizens to get introduced to the goals of the alternative measures as well as their importance in curbing and prevention against crime. The brochure will be papered bearing in mind that its users do not know the legal regulations and terminology and correspondingly, the content will be understandable for citizens. The brochure will explain, in a language appropriate for citizens what do alternative measures mean, their position within the system of criminal sanctions, as well as that alternative measures are meted out for light criminal acts for which the law outlines fine or imprisonment of up to three years, for example against estate (theft) and traffic offences dealt with in an abbreviated procedure. Similarly, it will contain basic explanation on the role of the local community in their enforcement, since a successful reintegration of the convicted person in the society, depends above all on his/her acceptance by the closer and broader social surrounding.
The brochure will be published in 2000 copies (1500 in Macedonian language and 500 in Albanian) and will be distributed on meetings of the project coordinator and the experts with the representatives of identified public services, humanitarian organizations and other civic associations.
Emilija Jordanova – Project Coordinator
Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)
Agency of the United States for International Development (USAID)