Israel Prepares for Katsav's Prison Term After Conviction Upheld

Before entering a correctional facility Katsav will meet with a committee that will interview him and evaluate his physical and emotional health to see whether he is liable to harm himself.

Preparations are already under way for receiving former President Moshe Katsav into the Israel Prison Service for his seven-year sentence, after his appeal against his conviction for offenses including rape was rejected yesterday.

Before entering a correctional facility Katsav will meet with an intake committee, consisting of an intelligence officer, a social worker, an intake officer and a physician. They will interview him to evaluate his physical and emotional health, whether he is liable to harm himself and whether he is in danger of being harmed. These and other parameters will determine where, and under what conditions, Katsav will begin serving his sentence. They will also listen to what he has to say, although prison service officials stress that he cannot dictate terms to them.

Moshe Katsav - Olivier Fitoussi - November 2011
Olivier Fitoussi

At this stage, Katsav is most likely to begin his prison term in Ma'asiyahu Prison, near Ramle, in the wing for religiously observant Jews. Officials have already spoken to members of Katsav's circle about the possibility.

This wing is meant for prisoners who are very strict in their observance of Jewish law, and efforts are made to keep out those hoping for better conditions than in other units. Among other strictures, there are no televisions in the wing.

In the event that Katsav finds life without access to TV and other media outlets too difficult, he could apply for a transfer to either the Dekel or Rimonim prisons, whose religious wings have TV access.

Because of Katsav's fragile emotional state - he is considered a suicide risk in prison - he will probably be monitored very closely, at least at first, with 24-hour video surveillance and frequent visits from prison guards.

Prisoners in the religious wing are free to move around the area during the day, and are locked in their cells at night only.

In order to receive treatment as a sex offender, and also in order to receive any furloughs during his incarceration, Katsav would have to admit to having committed sexual offenses - something he has so far refused to do. In any event, neither treatment nor furloughs will be relevant until he has served at least one-third of his sentence.