Piraeus, Greek territory: While mainstream media in Greece have been focusing on the lives of VIP prisoners, a small number of men who have power, money and good relationships with prison guards, they gloss over the fact that prisons across the country have been severely affected by budget cuts, poor healthcare, ill treatment, lack of hygiene and drug abuse.
Note: Enough 14 is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
Women within prisons are treated unfairly and are facing deplorable conditions which put their lives and well-being in danger, as the three pillars of the justice system, retribution, patriarchy and racism, create an asphyxiating framework of criminal negligence. The healthcare issues outlined in a letter below, mainly stemming from an inaccessible healthcare system by patients facing serious illnesses, explains why there is great need for prison reform and a prisoner-centered approach as the basis of safeguarding the rights of women in prison. The letter was published by the Network of Solidarity with Prisoners.
During last year, women detained in Korydallos prison were deprived of doctor appointments, medical tests, operations and various kinds of treatments since transfers to local hospitals seem to take place very rarely. The main reason for this is the prison’s reluctance to get patients to a hospital.
The women living with illnesses cannot drive the short distance of only a few kilometers away themselves, because they are in prison. Generally speaking, out of ten scheduled doctor appointments only one takes place, meaning that at least 90% of doctor appointments for women in prison are missed, which poses a great risk to their health. As a result, serious health problems are not treated at all or the patient gets access to the treatment after months of waiting and repeated cancellations.
Irreversible health problems arise from this situation and the lives of women living with illnesses is under immediate threat. Women with cancer do not have operations for tumour removal nor are they given access to the appropriate post-surgery treatment care. Women with serious health issues don’t know whether they ‘ll manage to get to a hospital while they are still alive or whether their health conditions will be treated successfully on time. There are women living with the constant fear that they will never come out of prison alive. Many patients are brought to Korydallos from the women’s prison in Thebes, in order to transfer them to a hospital, but that never seems to happen. So, they are transfered back to Thebes in order to re-schedule an appointment at the hospital. Then, they are taken to Korydallos Prison again as the appointment date approaches and the same cycle is repeated.
This criminal tactic happens under the watchful eye and the approval of the two relevant ministries: the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Citizen Protection.
No excuses could legitimate this mistreatment which has put the lives of hundreds of women in danger for the past year. And of course, the culprits cannot hide under the excuse of ‘lack of manpower’ which the Prison Transfer Unit has used repeatedly. Even if that is the case, does that mean that human lives are less important than the ‘adequate’ security measures, nomatter what these are? Must we accept that the lives of some patients are devalued, just because they are in prison? This stance clearly exhibits that human lives are indeed devalued. This situation violates the rights of prisoners and the right to health and crushes right to life which is the most fundamental right of all.
This situation cannot go on. We do not want to suffer permanent health problems just because we cannot get access to healthcare as prisoners. We do not want more deaths in prison.
We do not want our imprisonment to pose a threat to our lives on a daily basis. The irreversible health issues caused by this condition, which seems to have become permanent, and the immediate threat we are facing daily, is caused by the Prison Transfer Unit, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Citizen Protection. We are not going to simply wait until our fellow prisoners die. Because by then, it will be too late.
This criminal and murderous neglect must stop now!
We demand immediate access of all prisoners to health care and hospitals.
Safeguard the right to health and the right to life for all the women and men in prison.
The letter was co-signed by all of the women housed on the ground floor of Korydallos Prison (section K2)
March 29th, 2019 Korydallos Women’s Prison
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