Thessaloniki. Greece. 62 new corona virus cases have been recorded in Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki. The prison seems to have been turned into a corona virus hotspot.
Submitted to Enough 14. Original Greek version: Δίκτυο Αλληλεγγύης Κρατουμένων (facebook.com/DiktioAllilegiisKratoumenon/photos/a.2011436862466560/2821372594806312)
More specifically, 56 prisoners and 6 prison guards have been tested positive. Diavata is a closed prison that is facing the severe problem of overpopulation. Inmates literally sleep on top of each other. Healthcare is non-existent. It’s important to note that since the 20th of October when one of the prison employees was found positive there was a demand that the National Healthcare System send a team of experts to test everyone. Due to negligence on the part of the authorities, these tests were only carried out yesterday.
The national healthcare system tested 150 individuals.
The prisoners remained locked up in their cells continuously from noon till the next morning. They were not allowed to inform their families. Dinner was served at 23:00 following complaints from prisoners who were obviously irritated from the delay. No explanations for this were given by the prison authorities. It’s common sense that corona virus is spreading rapidly inside prisons, which is something the government is trying to hide. Prisoners were handed out a mask and a pair of gloves today and that was the end of it. They are throwing around the ball of “personal responsibility” in order to absolve themselves of any real responsibility. The virus will affect most prisoners if effective measures are not taken by the government.
At the same time, according to local media, a prison guard has been tested positive in Kassavetia prison, in the city of Volos. In this prison as well, no tests were carried out among the prison population and when prison guards ask to be tested the answer they received was that they can do it privately and pay for the test themselves.
These new covid-19 cases, did not start inside the prison but from prison employees and prison guards, who mingle with the general population and then return to prison for work. More people have been tested positive in Malandrino and Corfu prisons.
Mrs Nicolaou, on her part, has reassured prisoners again and again that the method of prison decongestion will follow, but this was never enforced since it did not correspond with the penal policies of the government. Hence, the prison population not only was not reduced, which is what happened in most countries during the pandemic, but it actually increased.
Since trials have been put on hold, many cases have been retracted, even those tried in appellate courts, as well as appeals for parole. At the same time arrests and remands have been driving up the number of prisoners in correctional facilities, especially Korydallos Prison.
Sofia Nicolaou, secretary general of crime policy, is drawing a communicational strategy while taking advantage of prisoners, who are a very vulnerable social group, without having to face any consequences for her criminal actions since she knows that the majority of mainstream society remains ignorant and indifferent on matters of prisoner rights. Prisoners, for society, are just dehumanised culprits. At the same time, the message of prevention she is trying to pass across society will even be perceived as humanitarian by a large part of society, which is something that contrasts the way she is dealing with the pandemic in the prison population.
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