New legislation drafted by the Citizens’ Protection Ministry seeks to crack down on what it describes as “mounting abuses” of the prison leave and transfer system.
Under the provisions of the new legislation, prisoners will have to meet much stricter criteria in order to be granted furlough, while leave rights will also be linked to the severity of the crime for which prisoners are convicted.
A similar philosophy also governs transfers, which are usually sought by prisoners wishing to be moved to a facility that is closer to home or where conditions are better. Under the new law, prisoners convicted of terrorism-related crimes, for example, will not be allowed to file for a transfer.
Transfers, meanwhile, will also be prohibited for prisoners who have faced disciplinary action during their incarceration or who have previously violated the terms of furlough.
The security involved in transfers is also being tightened, as the ministry says that the stretch between two different prisons has been used to attempt an escape from custody on numerous occasions.
Similarly strict terms will be imposed on prisoners’ transfers to a hospital or mental health facility in order to prevent escape attempts. Under the new provisions, prisoners suffering from physical or mental health problems will be put under observation in the prison infirmary or placed under restriction for a period of time before being transferred to a specialized facility on the orders of the prison doctor.
The new legislation is seen aimed, in part, at convicted November 17 assassin Dimitris Koufodinas, whose transfer to the agricultural prison of Kassaveteia in Volos and successive leaves during the administration of the previous leftist-led government had caused reactions in Greece and from the international community.
If the bill is ratified, Koufodinas will likely be transferred back to a high- or maximum-security facility, possibly the capital’s Korydallos Prison.