Gambling on freedom: temporary and gradual prison release in Ukraine

Dr Anton Symkovych2
1Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 2University Of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Південно-Африканська Республіка

Most prisoners are eventually released. Many jurisdictions systematise some form of temporary release as preparation for this by facilitating, among other things, family and work-force reintegration. Temporary release can also signal the state’s alleged compassion and humanity. I will explain how Ukraine squares these noble goals with an inherent mistrust of prisoners. Furthermore, I will discuss how in their anticipation of freedom prisoners weigh the perceived risks and benefits of gradual release versus the more ‘predictable’ parole. Parole in their view entails ‘lesser’ obligations and visibility. Through examination of how some prisoners assess their personal vulnerability to risky behaviour and opt out from gradual release, I argue that prisoners, as well as the state, often deem themselves untrustworthy subjects.


Anton Symkovych is a EURAIS fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Central European University and a research associate, Sociology Department, University of Johannesburg.


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