Jail conditions slammed

Conditions at Korydallos Prison in Athens are «dismal and inhuman» and its medical and psychiatric facilities lack hygiene and staff, the Piraeus Prefecture said in a statement yesterday after sending experts to assess the state of the maximum-security jail. The report, which claims that prison guards take on medical duties due to staff shortages, was issued just weeks after prisoners at Korydallos and almost a dozen other prisons around Greece rioted in protest at the conditions in which the inmates are held. The prefecture said it had sent a team of its own doctors as well as doctors from the Piraeus Medical Association to examine conditions under the auspices of a special prosecutor appointed to oversee prison matters. In their report, the doctors said they had found four inmates suffering from tuberculosis in the prison hospital with no measures in place to stop the disease from spreading to other prisoners. Prisoners can only see a psychiatrist twice a week, when he visits Korydallos. Due to the lack of staff, four prison guards have to act as nurses to help the doctor, the report revealed. The prefecture’s team also found that medical waste is not being disposed of in line with hygiene regulations. «The situation we found was dismal and inhuman, as the basic rights of prisoners for decent detention conditions are being violated,» the Piraeus Prefecture said in its statement. The experts found that almost 2,000 inmates are being kept in cramped conditions at Korydallos. There are usually three or four inmates in each cell, which measures between 10 and 12 square meters, according to the report. The prefecture called for a reduction in the number of inmates and permanent medical staff to be assigned to the prison. «Despite our frequent interventions, the situation at jails hurts and concerns me,» said Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras.