Council of Europe through its Cooperation in Police and Deprivation of Liberty Unit stands by member States to improve protection of human rights within their penitentiary systems, and supports strengthening the probation services, thus making steps towards moving from the punitive approach towards rehabilitative one.
In that context, a meeting took place in Athens, Greece on 3 February 2023 following the adoption of the Ministerial Decision on re-enacting Community Service in the Greek penitentiary system.
The meeting was a continuation of the excellent cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Greek authorities (both Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Citizen Protection) in the field of penitentiary and community sanctions and measures. Cooperation in Police and Deprivation of Liberty has supported Ministry of Greece since 2016 both for the development of a Roadmap for the implementation of the Community Service as well as for the drafting of the above Ministerial decision.
Minister of Justice highlighted the importance of re-introducing Community Service and the added value of cooperating with the Council of Europe. Community Service constitutes a new institution for the Greek judicial system and a long-term approach is needed as part of the overall Ministry Justice effort to modernize the Greek judicial and penitentiary system.
During the meeting of 3 February 140 representatives of key stakeholders (probation, prosecution, judges, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Citizen Protection, Lawyers associations, local municipalities/other implementing agencies) exchanged their opinions and views on the way community measures and sanctions can be put in practice. To the same end, best practices, and Council of Europe standards for the application of community sanctions and measures in Greece were presented by Council of Europe Secretariat and its international consultants.
Cooperation, Police and Deprivation of Liberty will continue supporting the Greek authorities with establishing and smooth implementation of Community Service in the next years.