1887
Volume 63, Issue 6
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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Abstract

Criminal justice systems throughout the world are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges posed by language barriers. However, that awareness is still limited to the realm of court proceedings, whereas legislation aiming to protect language rights of foreign prisoners is scarce and vague. In the particular case of Spain, only a few provisions in the Prison Rules envisage the notion of language assistance, making it explicit that such support is to be provided by other prisoners or staff.

This paper aims to analyze the implications of an underdeveloped language policy in the realm of Spanish penitentiary institutions, focusing on how the specific measures stemming from that policy affect the rights of imprisoned foreign nationals. Against the backdrop of the limited legislative coverage of language issues, communication strategies seem to be based on the linguistic assimilation of foreign language-speaking inmates, either to communicate directly with staff or to serve as interpreters for newly arrived fellow inmates. Causes and consequences of these strategies are discussed in this paper, including an analysis of the quality of the interpretations that nonprofessional prisoner-interpreters are able to provide.

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2018-06-21
2019-10-14
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