New prison construction to begin with clearing of old NATO base in Aspropyrgos, sec’y general says

The old NATO base buildings in Aspropyrgos, NW of Athens, will be blown up in a few days to prepare the way for construction of a new jail to replace Korydallos prison, Secretary General for Prison Policy Sophia Nicolaou said on Sunday.

In an interview to the Sunday “To Vima”, Nicolaou said the new jail capacity will be 2,000. It will contain 12 wings, school complexes, 7 courtrooms, a wing for vulnerable groups and an operational center overseeing all areas via closed-circuit TV cameras.

The Justice Ministry official noted that the complex is expected to enter its final construction phase in end-2021.

The emphasis, she said, will be on closer monitoring. The newspaper quoted her as saying, “The last 8 months there were 11,245 checks in the 34 Greek jails, with 2,500 of the checks taking place the last three months. Objects confiscated included 1,268 cellphones, 453 knives, and many guns, like those found recently in the Corfu (Kerkyra) jails.”

She said some incidents implied involvement by jail staff, but the inspectors are being activated to check jail financial data for both jails and staff.

Nicolaou admitted the great problem presented by unresolved internal reviews conducted in jails for staff liability in imported drugs, guns and cellphones in jails.

In terms of services for prisoners, she said that there is a protocol design for an academy of parenting; the start of two professional schools approved already for Larissa and Eleonas in Thebes; a provision to add cooking to educational training offered already; further telemedicine provision to cover lack in medical facilities; and a service helping released prisoners reintegrate in society.

Courses already offered in jails include robotics, astronomy, IT, English, Greek, creative writing, reflexology, career advising, meteorology, antiquities, mediation, gardening, ceramics, facial health and beauty, and knitting, she said.