Bid to educate young offenders

Convicted under-age criminals will be able to secure early release after serving only half their term, provided they undertake to pursue a formal education while in prison, under the terms of a new draft decree unveiled by the government yesterday. The measure will apply to all of Greece’s 458 prisoners under the age of 18 who choose to attend vocational training courses or proper school classes. Two secondary schools are currently functioning inside young offenders’ units. «This is an important incentive meant to draw as many young prisoners as possible into attending vocational training programs or participating in all levels of the educational system,» Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, whose ministry drafted the decree, told journalists. For every day of attendance, two days will be deducted from the young prisoners’ sentence, Petsalnikos said. This will remain in effect during school holidays. Under-age convicts can also trim days off their sentence through employment at prison workshops.