Albania's staggering expenses, 700 million euros for prisoners

2024-04-25 10:26:26Investigim SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
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The government spends an average of 50 million euros per year on the prison system. If an average of 5,000 prisoners, convicted or in the process of investigation and trial is taken, it turns out that about 10,000 euros are spent per year, at a time when the average salary in the country for 2023 was about 8,400 euros .

The figures suggest that Albania has the most expensive prisoners among the countries of the Council of Europe. Why? Official data for 2022 show that the average sentence in Albania is about 14 years. If this figure is multiplied by 10,000 euros, what is the current cost, then a convicted person costs Albania 140,000 euros in total.

Simplified even more, at the end of the sentence of the current convicts in Albanian prisons, the Government will have paid about 700 million euros. The cost is more than double the average of the countries of the Council of Europe, where a prisoner costs on average between 50 thousand and 100 thousand euros during the entire time of serving the sentence.

Albania ranks worse than the countries of the region in this aspect. In North Macedonia, a prisoner spends about 100,000 euros until the end of his sentence, in Montenegro, about 85,000 euros and in Serbia, about 70,000 euros.

What reduces prison costs in the countries of the region, but especially in the developed countries of the Council of Europe, is the average length of the sentence and the massive application of alternative sentences. In Serbia, for example, the average length of the sentence is a little more than six years, while the average sentence of the countries of the Council of Europe is about 11 years.

The other factor that significantly increases the costs of Albanian taxpayers to convicts is the massive application of the security measure of arrest and imprisonment, especially after the justice reform and the establishment of SPAK. International organizations have also criticized this. The last was the UN, which after an expert observation mission of the committee against torture, inhuman treatment and humiliation raised concern about the high number of detainees and their limited access to basic services, such as medical treatment.

However, costs also increase due to mismanagement, or corruption with tenders in the penitentiary system. As an example, the former director and the entire administration of a prison in the country was investigated a few years ago for corruption with the food tender.
During the investigations, the prosecutors discovered at the time that during the evaluation of the offers, the cost of a loaf of bread had increased by almost 50 percent from its real market value. Bulk bread at that time cost an average of 70 Lek, but in the said tender it was estimated at 130 Lek.

This is one of the reasons why maybe the minister Ulsi Manja estimated that with the release of 1100 convicts through the criminal amnesty, the state budget will save 30 million euros. The minister said that a prisoner costs about 35 euros per day, or almost 13 thousand euros per year. If we multiply this figure by 1100, which is the number of those who benefit from the pardon, the budget saves 14 thousand and 300 euros and not 30 million euros, Manja declared.

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