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CoE Finds Dire Conditions in Greek Psychiatric Hospital for Prisoners

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, CPT, in its new report about Korydallos Psychiatric Hospital for prisoners in Greece, found that patients-prisoners are hospitalized under dire conditions.

After an ad-hoc visit to the hospital from 8 to 11 November 2022, the CPT found that the hospital remains a prison in design and functioning. Despite the government’s promise to transfer the hospital’s responsibility to the Ministry of Health, it remains under the Ministry for Citizens Protection.

Patients are held in overcrowded and dilapidated rooms and their treatment is based almost exclusively on pharmacotherapy. Prison officers run the hospital without relevant background or training on mental health issues. Some important issues that CPT underlined are the lack of a resident psychiatrist, the presence of only one nurse for 170 patients, and the way the patients’ deaths are investigated.

“Finally, what is really happening today in psychiatric departments in the public and private sectors is what we learn from the competent committee of the CPT. Despite the committee’s long-standing recommendations, the problems presented and the violation of the rights of the mentally ill continue to exist and even worsen, due to the lack of staff,” Yannis Alexakis, a lawyer and former member of the special monitoring committee for the protection of rights of people with mental disorders, told BIRN.

The CPT also visited the recently established transgender unit in Korydallos Women’s Remand Prison. The CPT noted good living conditions but also urged Greece to develop a clear policy framework for transgender persons in prison.

The CPT visited the Special Wing C in Korydallos Men’s Prison. Although the authorities had responded promptly to CPT’s previous recommendations, the cells were still filthy, dilapidated and severely overcrowded; each prisoner had less than 2 metres square of living space.

“More generally, the CPT reiterates the importance of taking vigorous action to tackle overcrowding in many of the prison establishments. The CPT also highlights once again the necessity to develop a revised Strategic Plan with clear timelines and financial costings,” it said in a press release.

Greek authorities informed the CPT of measures taken to improve prison living conditions while noting the constraints under which the prison administration is acting.

BIRN asked the secretary general of the anti-criminal policy of the Greek Ministry for Citizens Protection for a comment on the report but did not receive an answer by the time of publication.

Source : BalkanInsight