President of the second High Criminal Court of Appeal, Judge Ibrahim Salman Al Jafn, has indicated that Law 18/ 2017 on Alternative Penalties and Measures represents a qualitative shift in the science of punishment.

He asserted that the kingdom was the first among its neighbouring countries to issue and implement such a law aimed at enabling the family and civil society to play a major role in reforming convicts with sentences entailing deprivation of liberty, as well as changing traditional penalties that are not commensurate with some cases.

Judge Al-Jafn said that His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had given directives to activate the Law on Alternative Penalties and Measures for eligible convicts, out of his keenness on the interests of Bahrainis.

Based on the royal directives, the Supreme Judicial Council, represented by Court of Cassation President and Deputy SJC President, Chancellor Abdulla bin Hassan Al-Buainain, has focused on organising training courses for the relevant judges to understand the new law and implement it in the right way, he said.

On the positive aspects of the alternative penalty and measures, Judge Ibrahim Salman Al Jafn said that they allow state authorities and civil society to cooperate in reforming the criminal conduct of convicts, as well as provide opportunities to convicts to stay with their families and play their role towards them.

Economically speaking, the law allows convicts to maintain their source of livelihood, and therefore enables them to continue supporting their families, which is of utmost importance, especially for those who are the only bread-winners for their families, he said.

He added that the law spares convicts the negative psychological effects they suffer under liberty-depriving sentences.

It also enables the country to benefit from the expertise of some convicts, who can contribute to enhancing the nation-building process should they be given the opportunity through the alternative punishment.