Tuesday, June 15

The Basque Government will provide “equal” treatment to ETA prisoners with respect to the rest

The Minister for Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government, Beatriz Artolazabal.

The Minister for Equality, Justice and Social Policies of the Basque Government, Beatriz Artolazabal.

The Minister of Justice, Beatriz Artolazabal, has ensured that the Basque Government will offer a “equal” treatment of all prisoners, both those of ETA and the rest, once it assumes jurisdiction over the management of the prisons as of October 1, since otherwise it would entail incurring a crime of “prevarication”. For this reason, he stressed that “it is not true” that, as stated by some parties, the Executive is going to grant “privileges“to the inmates of the defunct terrorist organization.

Artolazabal has referred in this way, in statements to the media in the Basque Parliament, to the basic document on the prison model that the autonomous government in Euskadi intends to apply, which this past Tuesday was sent to the Basque Chamber.

The basic document on the future Basque prison model contemplates the establishment of an initial semi-release regime for penalties of up to five years. In addition, it provides for the possibility of creating mixed modules in which both sexes can coexist, and establishes that the treatment of ETA prisoners will be “substantially identical” to that received by the rest of the inmates.

The minister, referring to the fact that this competence is included in the Euskadi Statute of Autonomy of 1979, has congratulated herself on the fact that with the agreement on this transfer, reached between the central and Basque governments, the “43 years of non-compliance” with the statutory law.

“Improve attention”

As he explained, the assumption of competence over the management of the penitentiary centers located in the Basque Country and the staff who are in them is opportunity to “improve care” offered to inmates.

Artolazabal has reaffirmed his conviction that the resocialization of prisoners and restorative justice must be the “basic principles” on which the penitentiary model is articulated. The counselor has stated that it is necessary for incarcerated people to have a “new opportunity”, after having served their sentence, to be able to reintegrate into society “with full guarantees.”

More security

The model, he added, must also be oriented towards avoid “recidivism”, as well as to “improve the perception” of Basque society about prisons. Another objective of the measures that the Government will promote is to achieve “greater security” for society in general.

“Have an opportunity ahead to do things differently “, has stated, after which it has announced its intention to continue working with third sector entities in the design of itineraries for the reintegration of inmates.

Female prisoners

Another priority you mentioned is to address the situation of women who remain in prison. The counselor explained that prisons have “a marked masculine character”, and that measures must be taken to avoid the “double victimization” that many women prisoners may suffer. Likewise, it has committed to developing tools that improve health care, education and the employability of persons deprived of liberty.

Regarding the ETA prisoners, Artolazabal has stressed that they suppose a “very small” percentage of the prison population in the Basque Country. In any case, and in line with what is established in the document sent to Parliament, it has stressed that the treatment that will be offered to all prisoners, regardless of the crime they have committed, will be “egalitarian”, since the opposite it would mean incurring a crime of “prevarication”.

In this way he has warned that “it is not true” that, as some parties and sectors maintain, the Basque Government is going to grant “privileges” to the prisoners of the disappeared gang.

“All the people who are in the penitentiary centers of Euskadi are going to have the same opportunities and the same obligations, regardless of the reason for which they are serving a sentence, “he said.


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