Anti-torture body says Greek prisons at ‘breaking point’

1 March 2016
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Greek prisons are overcrowded, violent, understaffed, fail to meet adequate health standards and are reaching “breaking point,” according to a report by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

Among other failings, the report, due to be published Tuesday, said that the country’s prison system suffers from excessive use of police force, persistent overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, inter-prisoner violence and unsatisfactory care for juveniles.

Prisons in Greece, the report said, are “reaching breaking point” and it called for “urgent steps” to prevent them from “merely acting as warehouses.”

However, the report lauded what it described as the Greek Justice Ministry’s “political will” to devise a plan to address the wide-reaching problems of the prison system.

Meanwhile, citing findings from a visit in April 2015, the committee also stressed that there is a “widespread and deep-rooted problem of police ill-treatment in Greece.”

It found “systemic failings” of police and judicial authorities to investigate allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement officers and urged the Greek government to take the necessary measures to address the situation.

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