Minister steps in on prison crisis

As convicts in four of the country’s largest prisons continued their hunger strike yesterday in reaction to tougher rules governing furloughs and early release for incarcerated drug dealers, the government stressed that only future convicts will be affected. In a directive to prison and judicial authorities, Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos said the measures – outlined in a law passed this year – would only affect prisoners convicted for such offenses from now onward. The law was passed after it became clear that convicted drug dealers could take advantage of the former system to serve a fraction of their terms; prisoners sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment could secure conditional release after just over three years. Drug dealers must now serve at least four-fifths of sentences of between 5-25 years before qualifying for early release. In cases of life sentences, the minimum time served will rise from 20 to 25 years.

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