The Prison Board of Visitors is instituted by
force of the Prison
1976. The duties of its members, apart from those recognized by the
Prison Act itself (Art. 6), are more specifically established by
the Prison Regulations of 1995 (Art. 103). The Board, which is appointed
annually by the President of Malta on recommendations made by the
Minister of the Home Affairs, is basically a watch-dog of the system.
MDD's appointment to the Board
of Visitors was as follows:
Rev. Dr Mark
F. Montebello OP, S.Th.L. & B., Ph.Lic. & D.
Rev. Dr Mark F. Montebello
OP, S.Th.L. & B., Ph.Lic. & D.
Though chosen for their participation in MDD, these
members did not represent the organisation on the Board, but
The appointment is always made on a personal basis.
Membership in the Board of Visitors is important
since, first and foremost, it gives full freedom of movement within
all the correctional facilities of Malta. Secondly, it is important
for the unlimited excess it gives to all prison files. Thirdly,
it gives access to committees, commissions and other bodies available
only to a few. This obviously allows the possibility of taking
part in processes of decision-making, some of which affecting the
prisoners very closely. Finally, membership in the board keeps
one constantly in perfect touch with all that would be happening
within the correctional facilities.
On the other hand, however, membership in an institution
that is part of the system imposes limits on one's participation
in such a pressure group as MDD.
From our experience, being part of the system
through membership in the Board of Visitors does not diminish the
who are equally members of a group such as MDD, that is outside the system. On the contrary, it increases
the prisoners' expectations from them.