Greek prosecutors are sounding the alarm over the sense of impunity that will be created by the country’s new penal code, which will reduce statutes of limitations for crimes and include provisions that will allow for the early release of large numbers of prisoners as of July 1, when the new regulations come into effect.
The reformed penal code and the code of criminal procedure, which were voted into law earlier this month, introduce more lenient treatment for certain categories of offenders and reclassify certain felonies as misdemeanors.
According to the prosecutors whose union convened an emergency general assembly Monday, the new codes are “giants on clay feet” and essentially confirmed the report published in Monday’s Kathimerini that highlighted the concerns within the ranks of the Greek Police (ELAS).
Police say the new codes will ensure that hundreds of convicted robbers receive early release from prison and that this will hamper efforts to combat crime and chip away at citizens’ sense of security.
Prosecutors clarified that it is essential to reform the country’s penal codes but noted that the prerequisite measures are not in place to ensure that the new codes will be truly reformed and effective.
Serious objections were raised over the provision that thousands of convicts who serve a certain amount of prison time will engage in community service.
Prosecutors stressed the lack of necessary mechanisms to oversee the provision of community service. In other words, there is no framework to allow for this.
Moreover, they also cited articles in the codes stipulating the settlement of thousands of criminal cases through community service rather than imprisonment as a punishment.
Prosecutor stressed that “these institutions thrive in many advanced European countries and they are being reproduced in our country,” but, they noted, this will be done without the necessary preconditions that will create an environment conducive to their beneficial and efficient incorporation into the reality of Greek criminal proceedings.