OPINION

Jailbreak exposes state shortcomings

It is difficult not to congratulate the Palaiocostas brothers for Sunday’s spectacular escape from Korydallos prison. The operation was original and faultless in both its planning and execution. It exploited both known and unknown weaknesses of the state machine, caught everyone by surprise and came off without the slightest hitch. He who uses the element of surprise always wins, in both politics and crime, so it is hardly surprising that the guards – both inside and outside Korydallos – were too surprised to react. It is strange, to say the least, when a helicopter takes off from Aghios Cosmas with a well-known pilot but unidentified passengers, declares itself en route to Myconos and then changes its destination a few minutes later; one would have thought that it would have been monitored by control towers and by radar and that its change in direction would have been noticed, but no action was taken. This breakout served to highlight the shortcomings of our national security in the most dramatic fashion. It also highlights the problems of overcrowded jails such as Korydallos where offenders of all ilks have lived in close quarters for years, leading to the creation of a thriving hub of criminality that has developed strong ties with the outside world. Indeed, over the past years we have seen everything in Korydallos – escapes, murders, riots, fires – and each time internal investigations are carried out but yield no results. It is about time that the plans we have heard about for more than a decade – to decongest jails and group convicts according to age, crime and sentence – were actually realized.