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Prisons and Parole in Contemporary Greece

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN CONTEMPORARY GREECE: INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES, pp. 557-591, L. K. Cheliotis and S. Xenakis, eds., Peter Lang, 2011

RELEASE FROM PRISON: EUROPEAN POLICY AND PRACTICE, pp. 213-236, N. Padfield, D. van Zyl Smit and F. Dünkel, eds., Willan Publishing, February 2010

GREECE, L. K. Cheliotis, 2010

Posted: 24 Nov 2011  

Leonidas K. Cheliotis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Recent years have witnessed an immense growth in the use of imprisonment in Greece. Overcrowding in prison establishments is staggering and living conditions are deplorable, turning unrest and even riots into commonplace occurrences. With international watchdogs and national pressure groups joining prisoners in the chorus of outcry, the Greek state has been promising to effectuate fundamental reforms, including a decisive turn towards decarceration. This is meant mainly in the twofold sense of promoting diversionary alternatives at the pre-sentencing and sentencing stages, on the one hand, and enhancing parole opportunities for those behind bars, on the other. Promises, however, have proved to be sheer rhetoric. This chapter begins by addressing the issue of how to gauge the scale of imprisonment in contemporary Greece. With reference to heretofore ignored indicators (i.e., annual prisoner caseloads and annual prison admissions), it is revealed that rates of imprisonment in the country are higher than commonly reported. Moving from description to explanation, it is further shown that imprisonment under conviction has risen at a faster pace than pre-trial detention; that the inflation of imprisonment under conviction has resulted from a tremendous rise in the duration of stay in prison, more so than from a rise in the rate of prison admissions as such; that the extended duration of stay in prison under conviction has stemmed from the increasing length of custodial sentences and the parallel shrinking of rates of discharge on parole; and that the upward trend in the use of imprisonment can be traced to the so-dubbed ‘liberal’ 1980s.

Suggested Citation

Cheliotis, Leonidas K., Prisons and Parole in Contemporary Greece (2010). CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN CONTEMPORARY GREECE: INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES, pp. 557-591, L. K. Cheliotis and S. Xenakis, eds., Peter Lang, 2011; RELEASE FROM PRISON: EUROPEAN POLICY AND PRACTICE, pp. 213-236, N. Padfield, D. van Zyl Smit and F. Dünkel, eds., Willan Publishing, February 2010; GREECE, L. K. Cheliotis, 2010 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1963755

Leonidas K. Cheliotis (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration ( email )

Houghton Street
London, England WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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