The talks focused on the continued serious concerns of the Committee regarding the fundamental shortcomings in the treatment and conditions of detention of persons held in prisons. The delegation was particularly keen to learn about the action being taken by the Government to tackle the systemic problems of overcrowding and understaffing in prisons. It also wished to hear about the steps being taken to implement the CPT’s recommendations, as set out in its reports on the 2021 and 2022 visits.
Further, in light of the Committee’s decision in March 2022 to open the procedure which may lead to the adoption of a Public Statement under Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention regulating the CPT, the delegation wanted to hear directly from the top leadership of the Ministry of Citizen Protection about the reform process. The talks were constructive and carried out in a spirit of openness and all parties expressed their commitment to improve the current situation of persons deprived of their liberty in Greece’s prisons.
The President of the CPT re-emphasised the importance of prison reform being a priority for the whole Government given its crucial link in the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
The delegation held an extended meeting with Yannis Oikonomou, Minister of Citizen Protection, together with Deputy Minister Kostas Katsafados and the Secretary General for Anti-Crime Policy, Dimitra Lygoura, as well as other senior officials responsible for prison matters. It also accompanied the Secretary General to the Korydallos Prison Complex where the discussions were pursued and recent developments within the Complex were shown.
The delegation also held an exchange with the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Pottakis, and his team.
The CPT’s delegation was led by Alan Mitchell (President of the CPT) and included Elsa Bára Traustadóttir (member of the Committee), and Hugh Chetwynd of the CPT’s Secretariat.