Electronic tags for prisoners set for approval

Parliament is due next week to vote on legislation allowing the implementation of a Justice Ministry scheme to relieve overcrowding at the country’s prisons by fitting with electronic tags inmates who are not deemed a serious security risk and can be released from custody.

According to sources, the draft law foresees the implementation of the scheme on three categories of inmates: those who are in custody pending trial, those who are eligible for furlough and those who are eligible for parole after having served a part of their sentence.

Justice Ministry General Secretary Nicolas Kanellopoulos told Kathimerini that some 2,500 prisoners are expected to benefit from the program, adding that it is expected to contribute significantly to relieving some of the pressure on the prison system from serious overcrowding.

Kanellopoulos assured that the scheme will not be made available to perpetrators of serious crimes, such as rape and homicide, nor to inmates involved in terrorism or organized crime. He added that people who have been incarcerated over debt-related crimes will be able to apply for participation.

The tracking device, which is attached to inmates’ ankles, allows authorities to keep track of their whereabouts at all times. The cost of each tag is around 1,500 euros, which will be paid by the inmate unless he or she is deemed unable to afford it.