A failure of the penal system

Hearing of prisoners who have been jailed for serious offenses committing new crimes after they have been granted furlough is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. The man who robbed a bank at gunpoint on the island of Alonissos earlier this week and who had also been serving time in Agia prison on Crete for several offenses is just one recent example. It is obvious from this case, as well as the numerous others that follow the same pattern, that something is very wrong with this country’s penal system. Meanwhile, the police are being kept busy chasing down and rearresting dangerous criminals when their efforts should be focused elsewhere. Greece’s penal code and the laws regulating the country’s correctional institutions need to be changed, starting with the application of more stringent criteria with which inmates are assessed when they apply for furlough. Allowing dangerous criminals loose on the streets poses a public threat, to which the government should respond immediately by reforming the system.