None of the defendants, with repeated thefts cases, have received the maximum sentence by the Court, even though, t in some cases they have repeated the same crime at least 5 times. Criminal Code provides more sever sentences for the perpetrators that have repeated theft cases, nevertheless, it appears that this punitive measure has not impacted in the reduction of theft crimes or rehabilitation of the people committing thefts.
By Avushe Zhuka
Tirana District Court often faces convicts sentenced repetitively for committing theft crimes and who return to their activity after being given minimum penalty for the crime. Investigim.al has detected at least 5 cases, which the defendants have been sentenced for the crime of theft, and, after finishing the sentence time, they are arrested again by police for the same crime of theft. These favorable Court decisions look like are turning the justice system into a mechanism which produces more criminals than rehabilitated ones. This fact is proved by a series of Tirana Court decisions, where the persons sentenced more than once are given minimal punishments, almost ridiculous ones. Regarding the attitude of the court in cases of repeating defendants, the Criminal Code is clear, but despite this fact, none of the defendants have taken the maximal sentence, as it is provided in the Criminal Code. Psychologists say that legal punishment instrument has not given any results due to the non functioning form of rehabilitation. Meanwhile, criminal lawyers say that in this kind of cases, the court should give the maximum sentence that Criminal Code provides for crime repeaters.
Convicted 15 times for theft
Facsimile of the decision that sentences for the 15th time the defendant Pellumb Patrioti with the charge of theft
Pellumb Patrioti is a 63 year old citizen, who is convicted by Tirana Court with 2 years imprisonment with the charge of theft. Even though the 63 year old man is a crime repeater he was investigated when being released and in the end of the trial he was sentenced with 2 years imprisonment, while the defense asked for his innocence. A document administered by the court showed that this defendant was sentenced at least 15 times for the criminal charge of theft during the years 1975-2003.This fact was proved by the verification of the judicial status of this person, according to which he has been sentenced at least 15 times. Despite previous precedents the representative of the prosecution asked to sentence the 63 year old man with 2 years imprisonment, request which was fully accepted by the court. Patrioti is accused of stealing a mobile phone in 28th January, 2013.The defendant himself was justified by saying that he did not make the crime but actually, he was prejudged because of his past.”By the end of trial the court decided to declare guilty the defendant Pellumb Patrioti for the criminal charge of theft, and sentenced him with 2 years imprisonment.-. According to the court this decision is fully justified, comparing it to the social dangerousness of the criminal act of theft, the circumstances under which it happens, and particularly the high social dangerousness of the defendant in this case.
But this is not the first case that a defendant repeater in the crime of theft is punished with the minimal sentence by the court. Klodian Spahiu was sentenced with 2 years imprisonment after being arrested, because he was caught in the act, while stealing the mirrors of two vehicles. The court sentenced him initially with 3 years imprisonment, finally by applying the Article 406 of the Criminal Code Procedure, he was sentenced definitely with 2 years of imprisonment. The 33 years old Spahiu turns out to have been sentenced before for the same criminal charge of theft 7 times. The court decision states: “in the sentence given to the defendant’s Klodian Spahiu, the court considered, that he was sentenced 7 times, the dangerousness of the act, his repentant attitude, his age, his educational level, and his economic status etc.”The arrest of the defendant Klodian Spahiu was made on 10/09/2013 at about 4.30 pm by the police forces near the restaurant “Lulishtja 1 Maji” in Tirana. He was caught in the act by stealing the mirrors of the car “BMW X5”. Beside the mirrors of this car the defendant Klodian Spahiu has also stolen the mirrors of the car “Skoda” type.
In relation to these cases, lawyers say that it is up to the justice system to find out a final solution for the same crime repeated charged persons. According to them, in the case of repeated defendants, the law has clearly defined the punishment that the court should give for each of them, nevertheless this is not applied in practice. In no case, the court has given the maximum of the punishment although the defendants have been previously punished for the same offence.
The criminal lawyer, Detar Hysi says that the Penal Code provides that “Theft of property is punished with penalty or imprisonment up to 3 years. In case this act is performed in cooperation or more than once it is punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years”. In each case, the court appraise that the punishment will serve to the education of the defendant, prevention of carrying out other offences by the defendant and to a general prevention of this offence in society. The lawyer clarifies that the law provides that repeat theft crime does not allow for the person to be released on condition, on the other side, the prosecutor’s office should ask for a maximal punishment for such cases. “The decision on the conviction measure shall take into consideration the culpable circumstances such as, repeated theft crime, crime denial, social threat and the guilt degree. The mitigating circumstances when determining a sentence, t can be the defendant acceptance of the accusation age and family conditions etc”, says the lawyer.
Besides the problems of the justice system in the case of repeated “thefts” serious social problems are evidently linked to the repeated crime and the lack of rehabilitation of these people in the Albanian prisons. Does the court achieve its aim through isolating these individuals? Sociologists clarify that “ the punishment instrument for the committed crime has not achieved the expected result because the rehabilitation process has not functioned”.
The psychologist, Entela Binjaku
The psychologist, Entela Binjaku says for “Investigim.al” that imprisonment makes the offenders quit their former roles and acquire new norms. “Repeated thefts by the convicted persons make you think that punishment instrument for the committed crime has not achieved the expected result, that of new behavior and skills development. As we can say that these institutions have not enabled for these people a life free from the law guidance. Entering a social institution like jail is a transition process, influencing the individuals to quit their former roles and acquire new norms” says Binjaku.
The direct responsibility rests with the penitentiary institutions. The psychologist Entela Binjaku explains the reasons that bring these individuals to the repetition of the same criminal act. “Frequently the nature of such institutions makes the problems deeper and making them unable to take social responsibilities therefore repeating the same actions. These repeated actions show that the rehabilitations process has not functioned in the way for these citizens to keep themselves away from repeated deviated behavior”, further admits Binjaku. Sociologists express their conviction that economic conditions, unemployment and poverty bring these individuals to repeat the criminal act. “Making an analysis of who are the detained of committing thefts, we can say that in general they are unemployed, young men, usually come from various areas of the country. This shows that , young men are tempted and pushed by age , economic difficulties created by unemployment, lack of commitment, and the need to fill in the gaps created by poverty”, says Binjaku.
“Defining the initial violation of law as the first deviation, the second one comes when the individual accepts how others label him and considers himself as devant r. This label might repeatedly serve as stimulant for repeating deviated behavior, as it applies on the cases you are treating with concern”, adds Binjaku.
While, analyzing the five decisions about the repeated thefts, one fact is evident: that all these sentenced individuals have not agreed with the decision of Tirana Court. In the end of the court process they’ve been given various punishments, but have considered them as unjust decisions and have decided to appeal the decision at the Appellate Court. For the reason of clarifying if justice institutions can do something to improve legislation or the system to support this category. “Investigim.al” contacted the Ministry of Justice about the measures that must be taken but none of the officials of this institution that have the responsibility to draft penal policies among other responsibilities and to improve justice do not agree to give a comment about this issue.
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