Today, the Minister of Justice Rein Lang gave to the Riigikogu an overview of implementation of the development objectives of criminal policy until 2010 and crime in 2009.
Lang stated in his report that crime rate was on a downwards trend. “In comparison to 2008, the number of crimes decreased by 5 per cent, falling below 50 000. To be more precise, 48 359 crimes were registered in 2009,” said Lang. According to the data from the Statistics Office, 26 per cent of the population fell victim to crime last year. Five years ago, this figure was 32 per cent.
In his speech, Lang referred to the excessive number of prisoners and he drew a comparison with Finland which has 67 prisoners per 100 000 population while we have 273 prisoners per 100 000 population. In Lang’s words, the persons released form prison at the end of their sentence are the most disposed to criminal activity, 48 per cent of whom commit a new crime within one year. Those released from prison under electronic surveillance are the least disposed to criminal activity, merely 20 per cent of whom commit a new crime within one year. In Lang’s words, the recidivism rate is very high among students of special schools and that is why development plans of special schools are being prepared. Students receive help from speech therapists, social pedagogy specialists and psychologists. As important steps in reducing crime rate and recidivism, Lang mentioned drug rehabilitation for offenders, extending of opportunities of electronic surveillance, a possibility to impose community service for misdemeanours, and treatment of sexual offenders.
Further, Lang spoke about the role of expertise in combating crime and international cooperation in the fight against cyber crime. The Minister stressed the need to update the penal law concerning hatred and racism crimes and he mentioned the expensive costs of criminal proceedings, referring to a Bill which aims to optimise the state costs of the resolution of criminal matters and to reduce the average time for review of a criminal matter. “The Government has submitted the development objectives of criminal policy for 2010–2018 for the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu. Hopefully, in ten years today, Estonia will be among the five countries with the most effective criminal policy in Europe,” said Lang. Members of the Riigikogu Ain Seppik, Aleksei Lotman, Karel Rüütli, Robert Antropov and Ken-Marti Vaher took the floor to discuss this issue.
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Law of Property Act and the Bankruptcy Act
), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, was concluded. In the words of the initiators, the purpose of the Bill is to put an end to the situation where many families who have taken a housing loan lose their home but still owe large amounts to the bank. According to the Bill, banks will share together with borrowers the risk of potential decrease of the value of real estate which so far was borne by borrowers alone. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Law of Property Act and the Law of Obligations Act
( (578 SE
), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, was concluded. In the initiator’s words, the Bill would protect people from falling into excessive loan slavery and would increase the responsibility of banks in granting housing loans in the current circumstances of the fall of the real estate market. The initiator proposes a fairer division of loan risks between the lender and the recipient of the loan. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service