Given the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Hellenic League for Human Rights has called on the ministers of citizens’ protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and justice, Kostas Tsiaras, to take immediate action to decongest prisons around the country.
In a letter to the two ministers, the organization highlights the chronically poor conditions at Greek prisons, including overcrowding, inadequate access to healthcare, problematic hygiene and cleanliness and sets out a series of proposals to protect the health of those incarcerated as well as prison staff.
Among these proposals is the release of prisoners whose sentences will end in the next three months while those incarcerated for non-violent offenses should serve terms at home and/or be placed under electronic surveillance.
As long as the emergency lasts, it also calls for all prisoners and inmates aged 65 or over or belonging to vulnerable groups who are not particularly dangerous to serve their sentences at home.
The letter concluded by warning that the Greek prison system will be unable to cope if the virus spreads among inmates and that the immediate decongestion of the country’s jails is a matter of utmost urgency.