Police ‘in the dark’ about furloughs

The Justice Ministry has assured police that it will soon be in a position to notify the force promptly about prisoners that are let out from jail on furlough after a number of convicts were involved in crimes this year while on short-term release, sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini. The issue of prisoners being granted furlough was given priority after it emerged that one of the suspects in a daring but botched attempt to steal 1 million euros on Alonissos last week was a convict who had been given an 11-day pass. Police said that it was the fourth time this year that a released prisoner was arrested for committing a crime. Police are concerned that the Justice Ministry does not have the technological infrastructure to immediately convey information to precincts about prisoners that are being released. In fact, the force recently began its own research to establish how many prisoners who have been granted furlough do not return to jail and has discovered that about 150 are missing, even though the survey has not been completed yet. Police sources said that the cumbersome system means that precincts often receive faxes about prisoners’ being allowed out on furlough after their leave has expired. Officers make the point that if they have no record of criminals being allowed to exit prison, then they cannot flag this up on their system to warn officers, which means that convicts can pass through passport or ID checks without raising suspicion. According to sources, Justice Ministry officials held talks with police representatives last Thursday and agreed that they would speed up the process by which information is passed on to the force.