Training key to prison reform

Describing the penitentiary system as «bankrupt,» Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras yesterday highlighted the need to focus on training and educational programs for Greece’s crowded prison population. Speaking at an Athens conference on prisoner training and rehabilitation, Papaligouras blamed his Socialist predecessors for the «tragic state» of the prison system. «The greatest proof of the system’s bankrupt state is that most convicts end up in prison again after being released,» he said. The minister argued that the best answer was to provide prisoners with incentives to attend training and educational programs, to render them more attractive to prospective employers upon release. Appeals court prosecutor Ioannis Angelis advocated laxer rules on allowing prisoners the option of community service. He also said minor offenders who can buy off their sentences should be permitted to pay in installments in order to avoid imprisonment.