Demystifying Risk Management: A Process Evaluation of the Prisoners' Home Leave Scheme in Greece
Criminology & Criminal Justice, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 163-195, 2006
34 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2009 Last revised: 24 Nov 2011
Date Written: September 15, 2009
This article explores the factors considered by the Greek prison authorities in administering the home leave scheme. It is shown that the administration of the programme is significantly guided by exogenous factors like media pressure, mounting demand for rationality and accountability and populist considerations on the part of the superior officers at the Ministry of Justice, subsequently reflected upon personal concerns like the possible adverse consequences for decision-makers were they to exhibit ‘unwarranted leniency’. Support is lent to the arguments: that the scheme is used primarily as a means of maintaining institutional control; that the selection of participants onto the programme is largely decoupled from their needs, but rather depends mostly on their risk profile, which, however, is not determined by means of any sophisticated actuarial technique; and that the various categories of risk are greatly associated with race/ethnicity-linked knowledges or assumptions. Notwithstanding the constraints of action imposed upon decision-makers, it is concluded that rehabilitative impulses have not been completely supplanted by disciplinary and actuarial considerations, and that criminal justice agents still play a considerable, albeit attenuated, part in forming penal currents in prison. No clear indication of bias towards non-Greek prisoners was found in processing licence applications.
Keywords: Greece, prison, race, risk management, home leave
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