There is no system of alternative sanctions for criminal offenders in Montenegro. NGO  4 Life have therefore started to lobby and advocating over the past eight months for the introduction of alternative sanctions for drug offenders.

NGO 4 Life organisation has recognised the importance and necessity of introducing alternative sanctions. This system means that dependent drug offenders should be offered treatment outside of prison institutions. The focus would then no longer be placed punishment and a prison sentence, but rather on rehabilitation, socialisation and education. Such alternative penalties are very important for people who are caught with small quantities of drugs for personal use and for minors perpetrators of criminal acts. Sending these individuals to prison may have negative consequences and draw them closer to the world of drugs and crime.

NGO 4 Life held discussions on the proposal with representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. We have received positive and encouraging signals on the proposal after the draft amendments to the Criminal Code, which will be completed by September 2012. To this purpose, NGO 4 Life has conducted interviews with 5 of 7 parliamentary clubs in Parliament CrneGore. Our proposal was well received and there seemd to be a general understanding of this alternative form of punishment. We were promised that these Parliament representatives would vote for the adoption of the proposal once submitted to the Parliament.

Mrs Slavica Rabrenovic, Assistant Minister, said that a draft law on alternative sanctions would be completed by the end of 2012. According  to the draft law, prisoners whose offenses are related to drug use could be put on probation. They would be referred to institutions and organizations involved in drug dependence treatment (such as NGO 4 Life). Click here for more information.

In Montenegro, where people dependent on drugs are largely misunderstood and discriminated against, this step represents a huge success. People who committed offences related to drug dependence will be given the opportunity to begin healing and new life.

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