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No room in prisons - releasing prisoners

13 November 2009 / 11:11:18  GRReporter
2418 reads

Kremena Koutsoukou

Drug addicts, low profile drug dealers and all other prisoners, who have served 2 out of their 5 year sentence, will be released. The ones sentenced to more than five years in prison will be released after serving 3 years out of 5. High profile drug dealers, sentenced to life in prison will be released after serving 25 years. Prisoners sentenced to five years in prison will be able to turn their punishment into a payment of €3 per day. The ones, who cannot afford to pay, will have to choose between voluntary work or serving 3 out of their 5 year sentence.

This was announced by minister of justice, transparency and human rights Haris Kastanidis, as part of the measures for improving life in prison and reducing the number of prisoners. The proposals of the ministry will be given to experts, lawyers, the college of barristers, judicial and nongovernmental organizations, which in two months time will have to deliver their opinion. “We want problems to be discussed in a democratic way. We want the opinions of our parliament member colleagues and of the lawyers,” said minister Kastanidis. In order for those measures to be applied, necessary changes have to be done in the Criminal-Procedure Code as well as in the Drug laws.

Striking a balance is tragic: the capacity of Greek prisons is 9 103 and in them there are 11 432 people. The life conditions are miserable. There is a lack of experts and medical care is practically nonexistent – planned doctor positions are 85 and working doctors in reality are only 15. Three days ago thousands of prisoners from the jails in Koridalos, Patra, Komotini, Hanya and others started a hunger strike in hope for their problems to be taken seriously.

The ministry will propose changes in legislature in regards to different ways of serving time—in other words, voluntary work in social institutions and services. This option exists since 1998 but until today only 1033 prisoners have “taken advantage” of it. Among the ministry’s priorities are also the conditions under which individuals are temporarily arrested. The goal is to send to prison only sentenced individuals and not culprits as well, as it is until now. Significant attempts to repair prisons are made and in Drama, Nigrita and Hanya, new prisons are being built. Special attention will be paid to the professional training of correctional facilities staff members.

All prisoners, who want to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus will be able to do so. The ministries of Justice and Health have already created special coordination authorities and in every prison commission will be organized, which will apply the measures. 

Tags: Prisons in Greece Prisoners hunger strike
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