MINSK, 24 November 2003 - Experts from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Poland, Russia and the USA will discuss alternatives to prison sentences at a conference that will take place in Minsk on 26 and 27 November.
"From the human rights perspective, non-custodial measures help to prevent violations, because obviously people are less vulnerable when they are not in a closed institution," said Cynthia Alkon, who heads the Rule of Law unit of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
"Our traditional systems of punishment are not always effective in preventing crime and perhaps do not pay enough attention to the victim's interests. Punishment would be more meaningful if it were targeted and at the same time compensated the victim in some way. Alternative measures can do this."
The conference is organized by the Committee of Punishment Execution of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus, ODIHR, the OSCE Office in Minsk, the Central European and Eurasian Legal Initiative of the American Association of Lawyers (ABA/CEELI) and the Moscow office of Prison Reform International.
The event will take place in the Conference Hall in the Palace of the Republic, 1 October Square, Minsk. Media representatives are invited to attend the opening of the conference, and are requested to contact the OSCE Office in Minsk for accreditation.