Domestic abusers and sex offenders among nearly 1,000 prisoners released early
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Domestic abusers and sex offenders among nearly 1,000 prisoners released early

Inclusion of these convicts among those freed due to overcrowding is criticized by women’s and children’s groups: ‘This is a slap in our faces’

Prisoners leave Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle on December 20, 2018, after the state released 970 prisoners from prisons as part of a High Court of Justice decision. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)
Prisoners leave Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle on December 20, 2018, after the state released 970 prisoners from prisons as part of a High Court of Justice decision. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)

Nearly 1,000 inmates received early releases from prison Thursday due to overcrowding, including convicted domestic abusers and sex offenders.

The early release of 970 convicts from 29 prisons across Israel stems from a High Court of Justice ruling last year ordering the state to provide more living space for prisoners.

Among those released were 247 prisoners serving time for domestic abuse and 49 convicted of sex crimes, according to the Haaretz daily report.

The decision to include these prisoners among those released Thursday was condemned by women’s and children’s groups.

Prisoners leave Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle on December 20, 2018, after the state released 970 prisoners from Israeli prisons as part of a High Court of Justice decision. (Avi Dishi/Flash90)

“The decision may have far-reaching consequences for minors,” the Israel National Council for the Child was quoted by the Ynet news site writing in a letter to the head of the Israel Prisons Service regarding the expected release of prisoners convicted of sexually abusing minors.

The letter said it appeared orders mandating monitoring of the sex offenders had yet to be issued, “even though some of the sex offenders are considered dangerous.”

The Israel Women’s Network decried the early releases as “shocking and outrageous.”

“The release of hundreds of men without specialized and comprehensive treatment plans will place many more women in a dangerous situation, including concern for their lives,” Ynet reported the group saying.

“This is a slap in our face,” it added.

Thousands rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square as part of a nationwide strike protesting the violence against women, December 4, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The early release of prisoners convicted of domestic and sexual abuse came on the heels of protests against violence that has claimed the lives of up to 25 women in the country since the beginning of the year.

Organizers have called on women across the country to continue protests by striking every day at 10 a.m. for 25 minutes until the government approves a stalled NIS 250 million ($66 million) budget for a campaign targeting violence against women.

Earlier this month thousands of women went on strike and tens of thousands rallied across the country to protest women killed by a partner, family member, or someone known to them, and what they say is the authorities’ failure to stem a sharp increase in violence against women.

The protests came after the bodies of two teenage girls, slain in separate incidents, were found on November 26.

There have been several protests targeting government inaction since the murders, with activists also coloring the waters in several public fountains blood-red, including a fountain outside the prime minister’s residence.

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