Excess of life sentences puts further strain on prisons

Greece has the highest number of inmates serving life sentences in the European Union, putting a further strain on a correctional system that has labored under a dated penal code.

According to data seen by Kathimerini, Greece’s prisons are currently host to 12,912 inmates, 1,000 of whom are serving life sentences. This number is far higher than in other EU countries, such as the Netherlands, for example, which has just 90 lifers, and Germany, a much larger country, that has 140 inmates serving life sentences.

The number of life sentences, meanwhile, has skyrocketed in recent years as judges cracked down on financial crimes, though experts argue that life sentences should be reserved for violent crimes.

New sentencing rules and alternative punitive measures that could take the strain off the prison system are part of a new penal code that is due to go before Parliament within the next few days.

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