INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL TO SUBSTITUTE IN-PERSON VISITS IN THE SERBIAN PRISON SYSTEM DURING THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIVE MEASURES

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Milica Kolakovic-Bojovic

Abstract

In an attempt to properly address one of the greatest challenges for prison administrations around the world facing Covid-19, namely, to ensure regular communication between the inmates and their families, the Serbian Penal Administration, supported by German NGO Help e.V, procured the ICT equipment aimed at substituting the in-person visits. The author decided to assess the impact of this pilot project on the right of inmates to communicate with their family members, exploring their attitudes and the attitudes of professionals/prison staff that work with them, to get both perspectives. The results of the research showed that the online communication ensured through the pilot project has significantly contributed to preserving contacts and family relations in the changing environment of the Covid-19 restrictive measures, although it cannot completely replace family visits based on, in-person contact. However, the research also led to some of the remaining obstacles to a wider application of this, substitutive approach, among others, concerning the lack of IT literacy and the both of inmates and their family members, and to the life in poverty and/or in remote country areas. Additionally, this research identified a remaining need for further financial investment in the IT equipment to ensure adequate frequency and duration of communication, but also the need to revise/upgrade an existing treatment approach to integrating modern technologies/IT literacy as tools to contribute to the effectiveness of inmates’ reintegration.

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How to Cite
Kolakovic-Bojovic, M. (2021). INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AS A TOOL TO SUBSTITUTE IN-PERSON VISITS IN THE SERBIAN PRISON SYSTEM DURING THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIVE MEASURES. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs, 7, 21-35. https://doi.org/10.47305/JLIA2137121kb
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Author Biography

Milica Kolakovic-Bojovic, Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research - Belgrade, Serbia

Assoc. Prof. Milica Kolakovic-Bojovic, PhD is Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research and the Vice President of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. She graduated from the Law Faculty, the University of Belgrade in 2007. At the same faculty, she defended her master's thesis on imposing and executing correctional measures against minors, in 2008. She defended her PhD thesis Completion of Criminal Proceedings within a Reasonable Time, with honors at the Law Faculty, the University of Belgrade on July 11, 2016. From July 2008 to October 2009, she was employed as a research assistant in the Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research. From 2009 to 2012, she was engaged as a teaching associate at the Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade. Since 2012, she has been employed at the Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research, where in 2017 she was appointed to the scientific title of research associate. From 2018 to 2021 she was assistant/associate professor of Criminal Procedure Law and the EU Legal System at the Faculty of Law of the PIM University in East Sarajevo. Since July 2017, she is a member, and since 2019 the Vice President of the UN Committee for Enforced Disappearances; a member of the working group for urgent actions, and the rapporteur for reprisals. In 2021 she was appointed as a rapporteur for drafting the 1st General Comment to the UN ICPPED. In her professional career so far, Milica Kolakovic-Bojovic has been engaged as an expert in numerous scientific research and donor-funded projects in the justice sector, supported or implemented by the OSCE, CoE, EU, World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, UNDP, etc. She also coordinated or participated in the development of more than 15 main public policy documents in the field of transitional justice, judicial reform, improvement of victims' rights, and the enforcement of penal sanctions. In addition to engaging in scientific research and donor-funded projects in the justice sector, Milica Kolakovic-Bojovic was engaged in the Negotiating Structure of the Republic of Serbia with the EU from 2013 to 2018, as the coordinator of the drafting of the Action Plan for Chapter 23 and the President of the Council for the Implementation of the Action Plan for Chapter 23. So far, she has published two books and more than 70 scientific papers and book chapters. Since 2018, she has been the editor, and since 2020, the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Criminology and Criminal Law.

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