Missing prisoner prompts a rethink of furlough rules

The Justice Ministry is examining possible changes to the furlough system for prisoners after it emerged that a multiple murderer failed to return to Larissa prison after being given a five-day release.

Michalis Makriyiannis was serving four life sentences for five murders, three attempted murders and several armed robberies. It is the second time he has breached the terms of his furlough. He went missing from Alikarnassos Prison in 2006 but was recaptured 15 months later.

Authorities revealed on Tuesday that Makriyiannis had been granted furlough 10 times since 2007 but returned to jail promptly each time.

Sources said that statistics show 96.5 percent of inmates respect the terms of their furlough, which the ministry sees as a vital part of their rehabilitation.

However, the Public Order Ministry is exercising pressure for hardened criminals not to be given such leave as it wants to avoid committing resources to recapturing them.