Minister wants banks to stop discriminating former prison inmates

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri says he will write to Maltese banks in bid to end discrimination against ex convicts who are denied a basic bank account

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri announced on Tuesday that he will be reaching out to local banks to ensure that former prisoners are not discriminated against when trying to open bank accounts.

Camilleri emphasised the importance of not closing doors on those who have worked to rehabilitate themselves and move past their mistakes. 

He cited the example of a former prisoner who had learned a new skill while incarcerated and found a job using that skill after his release. However, when he tried to open a bank account, he was turned down by a local bank, leaving him feeling like he had limited options.

"It's unacceptable to deny these individuals the right to a basic bank account. What message are we conveying to them? Is society attempting to convince them that it is not worthwhile to change themselves? Are we sending them back to the life they had before?" Camilleri said.

The issue of discrimination against former prisoners was also raised by NGOs several months ago, with some arguing that such difficulties only serve to create a second sentence for these individuals.

Camilleri's decision to write to local banks and work with the government to address this issue comes in coherence with the Labour Party's electoral manifest.

First calling for minor drug possession convictions to be removed from police conduct, it also spoke of former prisoners to be given a second chance.

By working together, Camilleri hopes that local banks and the government can find a solution to this issue and ensure that former prisoners are given a fair chance to rebuild their lives.