Prisoners in Greece begin struggle against bill for ‘high security prisons’

Prisoners in Domokos, Korydallos, Kerkyra and Trikala have already begun protests against a new bill, proposed by the Ministry of Justice, according to which new, high-security cells will be created for ‘special type C’ prisoners.

Prisoners’ protests vary from temporary refusal to return to their cells (Korydallos), to hunger strike demanding regular issue of prison leaves for those who fill the criteria (Trikala). At the same time, authorities are taking countermeasures, such as delaying opening of cells, sudden cell-checks or extra checks for relatives visiting prisoners in order to delay them and de facto reduce visits.

Protests’ developments are covered (in Greek) by this Facebook page.

Prisoners participating in this mobilization against the new bill, have issued the following text:

The new bill of the Greek Ministry of Justice, regarding High Security Prisons and reduction of prison leaves, is at present in the phase of public consultation. The first new provisions of the bill have come to light:

Special categorization of convicts in three types (A, B, C). Special type C will include all prisoners accused of robbery or extortion as part of a criminal organization, political prisoners, all those characterized as dangerous and have been sentenced from 10 years of imprisonment up to life, as well as those rebelling in prisons.

Type C prisoners will be denied their right to prison leaves, while visits for them and phone calls to their relatives will be limited.

There will be specifically arranged type C cells (not only in Domokos prisons, but in others as well) in order to isolate prisoners.

Police is getting a permanent role inside prisons (cell control, transfer of prisoners inside prisons, etc) with their duties and authority being classified, not published even in the Journal of the Government [note: where laws have to be published in order to come into effect].

It’s clear that the government is preparing a Greek form of Guantanamo. In a judiciary system where the principle of proportionality is in tatters and exhausting penalties are being imposed, Greece is already becoming champion in multi-year and life imprisonments. Prison leaves and paroles are the only measures that would come close to balance this legal extermination.

Now, with reduction of prison leaves for the majority of prisoners (since everybody can be labeled “dangerous” and categorized as type C), the system creates hopeless people. That way, prisons become crime reproducing factories, since prisoners have nothing lose because they lost everything. Their supposed rehabilitation becomes vengeful punishment. Meanwhile, the continuous SWAT raids are making prisons a field for excercising police violence and arbitrariness. Also, authority of the prisons’ Prosecutors becomes absolute, while they don’t even know who the prisoners are – nothing more for them than a numbered folder forgotten on their desks.Prisoners in all prisons unite our voices and claim our rights and our dignity.

We demand that:

the new, fascist bill for a prison within the prison, be withdrawn. A bill that is created under heat, custom-made for the Minister of Police and the Mass Media.

the categorization of prisoners will stop. All of us prisoners have the same rights.

the right to prison leaves will be maintained. This measure has a very high success rate in Greece (only 2-3% do not return).

funds for the construction-conversion of high security prisons be used to improve conditions in prisons (lack of food, heat, water, medicine).

All of us prisoners are organizing, coordinating and will mobilize against those who turn prisons in a plce of perpetual punishment and deprivation of hope.We call upon the Minister and everyone responsible to consider their responsibilities and to open a public dialogue for the prisons and their real problems.

In any other circumstances, we are ready to give a strong answer, all of us united, against injustice and deprivation of our rights.

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