Plan to export inmates stalled

Plans for the government to build a jail in Albania to house Albanian prisoners serving long-term sentences in Greece have run into trouble, Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras said yesterday, as he revealed the extent of overcrowding in Greek jails. The idea for the new prison to be built in Albania with Greek finances was first proposed last September but Papaligouras admitted yesterday that talks with Tirana had hit a wall. There are over 9,500 inmates in Greek jails, which have a maximum capacity of 5,000 prisoners, the minister said. Some 42 percent of the convicts are foreigners and half of those are Albanian nationals. A new prison will be built by the end of the year near Drama in northern Greece and three more will be completed sometime next year, each with the ability to hold 400 inmates, said Papaligouras.