Amnesty Without Rehabilitation and Reintegration?

Prison amnesties are a good thing. I have just learnt that the amnesty which is currently under way in Tajikistan is the sixteenth over the last two decades. But I have also learnt that many of the amnestied individuals return to prison soon after being pardoned.

Isn’t it something that should be expected? You pardon individuals who spent several years behind bars, have no jobs, perhaps have no family to go back to, and face serious discrimination once they are free. Isn’t it only logical to assume that many of these individuals will not like going hungry and stigmatized? Isn’t it plausible to assume that many of these individuals might commit crimes – perhaps the easiest way available to them of earning bread?

Pardoning prisoners is a good thing. But I would argue that amnesties should not occur unless we offer the pardoned individuals opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration as well as incentives to use these opportunities.