A new report examining the conditions of Greece’s prisons and migrant detention centers has been released today. In it, officials describe the utter lack of improvement of Greece’s detention facilities, despite the demands of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CTP), submitted more than two years ago.
The report was based on the CPT’s April 2013 visits to 25 border and police stations, seven prisons and eight immigration and coast guard detention facilities.
The report also includes the Greek government’s response to 2013 demands to reform its detention system. Greek authorities vowed to tackle the problems and rejected claims that prisons were understaffed.
The CPT found increasing hostility to criminals during the arrest procedure, chronic overcrowding in prisons and migrant detention centers and a severe shortage of prison guards.
In previous visits to Greece, the CPT has “expressed its serious concern” over similar issues.
“The findings of the 2013 visit demonstrate clearly that the situation … remains dire,” the report says.
It found that most penitentiaries were at double or triple capacity. Inmates were sharing beds or sleeping on mattresses on the floor. In the men’s section of the country’s largest prison, Korydallos, two prison guards were responsible for overseeing 400 inmates.
With prisons beyond capacity, hundreds of newly convicted suspects are detained for months in police stations, where cells “are all totally unsuitable” to house people for more than 24 hours.
CPT described one such cell, 12 square meters (130 square feet), that held eight people. Detainees slept sitting on a chair, a table or on cardboard on the floor.
Conditions are also dire for migrants caught entering the country illegally. The report found that in one station, “two or more women were held for months in a dark, moldy and dilapidated basement cell of a mere 5 square meters (54 square feet) with no access to outdoor exercise or hygiene products.”