In other Greek prison news, the Ministry of Justice has just produced plans, to be put before the Greek parliament, to introduce a new tier of ultra-high security prison in line with the Spanish FIES (Ficheros de Internos de Especial Seguimiento) and the Turkish “F-Type” prisons.
The new higher-security “Type-C” regime will be based in new specially-designed prisons, the first of which is expected to open in Domokos, Central Greece, and feature tougher detention conditions, specially designed cells with separate wings (and potentially prisons in future years) for different types of high risk prisoners e.g. organised crime, armed groups, other political “offenders”, etc. The Greek police will also be given a greater role in their operation. In addition to guarding facilities from the outside, the police will now given a presence on prison wings and will be exclusively handle prisoners’ transports.
The introduction of this new “Type-C” tier, the first compound of which is due to be operational by the end of April, will encompass a reclassification of the existing prison strata. “Type-A” will continue to hold remand, debtors and short-term prisoners (those serving up to 5 years), but “Type-B” prisons will now be used to incarcerate those convicted of middle-range criminal offences (those not receiving life tariffs). ‘Type-C’ prisoners will be those convicted under the Terrorism laws, those serving life and any prisoner taking part in organised rioting during their incarceration. Terrorism and high treason convicts will have to spend 10 years in “Type-C” prisons before returning to other existing jails. They will also have no furlough (temporary leave) rights for the duration of their sentence and communications with the outside will be severely restricted. “Type-A” and “B” prisoners will be allowed prison leave but conditions for “Type-B” prisoners will be restrictive; plus, telephone communications for these two tiers will be limited.
Just as with the UK governments, in times of austerity the cash can always be found to build new prisons even if it can’t be found to provide legal aid assistance to help keep people out of them. And speaking of legal aid, the Prisoners Advice Service, an important independent charity that provides free, confidential legal advice and representation to prisoners in England and Wales, and the Howard League for Penal Reform are taking the Coalition to the High Court in an effort to get the cuts in legal aid for prisoners introduced by the Justice department hatchetman, Chris Grayling, reversed. The removal of access to much needed legal aid to fight the abuses inflicted upon them by the prison system (c.f. the latest figures for loss and damage of prisoners’ property) is just the latest in a long line of vindictive ideologically based attacks on prisoners imposed by Grayling under the guise of financial savings and, no doubt, it will not be the last.