Issue 1 - September 2010

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Scientific colloquium on:
“Criminological Aspects of Migration in Greece”

by Fotios Spyropoulos,
PhD Candidate, Lawyer- Criminologist, Centre for Penal and Criminological Research

The Greek Society of Criminology and the Centre for Penal and Criminological Research of the University of Athens organised a  colloquium on the subject “Criminological Aspects of Migration in Greece”. The meeting took place on the 15th of February 2006 at a large Amphitheatre of the University of Athens, situated in the neo-classical building at the centre of Athens. The large audience had the chance to hear about various important aspects of migration in the light of Criminology through the presentation of the mainly research-based work of the four speakers at the meeting.

Miss Evaggelia Vagena-Palaiologou, Magistrate with a doctorate degree in Criminology, presented a paper on the relatively recent and crucial phenomenon of migration in Greece. It has to be pointed out that Greece is at cross-roads between East and West and almost surrounded by sea, therefore, it is difficult to control the Greek frontiers which are also the frontiers of the European Union. The title of the paper was: “Racism and xenophobia in Greece today – Attitudes of formal social control agents (Justice – Police)”.

According to the research conducted between 1998 and 2003 on 250 public prosecutors, judges and 412 Police officers, it was ascertained that judges consider foreigners living in Greece today partly responsible for the increased national crime rate. They estimate that number of foreigners appears to have increased, but they are certain that foreigners enjoy all the procedural safeguards and are protected by Greek Justice. They do not generally consider them to be dangerous, although a percentage has directly or indirectly been victimised at the hands of a foreigner. Moreover,  the speaker pointed out that the police consider the number of foreigners is excessive. They consider them responsible for the increase of criminality and unemployment; they class them more often as offenders rather than victims and they express their suspicion of foreigners credibility. Nevertheless, they claim that it is not necessary for all foreigners to be expelled from the country; rather, they see criminal activities as resulting from their poor living conditions and are supportive of legal and equivalent treatment of foreigners and Greeks.

Afterwards, Dr Ira Emke-Poulopoulou (Vice-President of the Society of Demographic Studies, Member of the Academy of Science of New York), spoke about the very interesting “Financial and social consequences of immigrants coming to Greece”. Miss Ekme-Poulopoulou pointed out that migrant inflow contributed to the increase of GDP, the survival of marginal businesses, the amelioration of the welfare fund deficit, the increase in savings, the deflationary effects and Greeces accession into the Eurozone. Finally the speaker showed, through a series of scientifically documented findings, that migration has a positive influence on demographic evolution in Greece, while it also contributes to the financial development of the host-country. For this reason, the financial and social incorporation of the immigrants is an imperative and the condition for this is the legalisation of their residence in the country.

Afterwards, Mr. Filippos Manolaros, Athenian Appeals Court Judge, presented a Greek research on the subject: “Migrants seen through Greek court decisions”. Mr. Manolaros first outlined the crimes which migrants seem mostly likely to participate in, analysing the offenders modus operandi and all the other conditions which usually emerge with such illegal activities. Mr. Manolaros speech made an impression due to the evidence from case-law [legal precedent/jurisprudence] and which points out the immense financial exploitation connected to immigration (i.e. trafficker fees, extortion) and, especially, to the female aspect of the phenomenon (i.e. sexual exploitation for financial gain). As for the treatment of foreigners standing trial, the speaker claimed that no discrimination is apparent, but that different treatment is often imposed due to the fact that the foreigner is in Greece illegally and has no fixed residence (i.e. in cases of temporary custody).

Finally, Miss Alexandra Moshopoulou, Doctor of Criminology and Special Counsel of the Ombudsman presented a research study, which was the subject of her thesis at the University of Athens and which concerns the image of migrants criminality through the Greek evening press. As the researcher underlined, from analysing the content of two newspapers, it was found that immigrants criminal activity is disproportionately reported (quantitatively and qualitatively) compared with official statistics and reporting of native criminal activity. Indicatively, on the basis of the crimes examined, police statistics for known offences show foreigners represent 14.3%, while the two newspapers present a much higher percentage (44.9% according to the Greek newspaper “Apogevmatini” and 36.4% stated by the Greek newspaper “Ta Nea”). Moreover, the research confirmed that the differing bias of the two newspapers influences remarkably the way in which criminality and more importantly immigrants role, are presented to public opinion.

Mr. Nestor Courakis, Professor in the Law Faculty at University of Athens and Director of the Centre for Penal and Criminological Research, as moderator of the discussion, made some interesting criminological observations and summarised the key points of each speech.

With the speeches over, Mr. Courakis invited the audience to express their opinion and discuss the matter. The first to speak was Ms. Aliki Giotopoulou-Maragopoulou, Professor Emeritus at University and President of the Greek Society of Criminology, who expressed her reservations on the reliability of the statistics and pointed out the serious problems which are created in relation to human rights by the so-called “white-slave traffic”.

Professor and ex-Minister, Mr. Georgios-Alexandros Magakis intervention was very interesting. He emphasized that we should feel shame for perceiving immigrants solely as contributors to crime, and expressed his objection to the gross violations carried out against them.

Worthy of note was the large student turnout at the event – evidence of a particular interest in this specific field of studies, prompting hope that future scientific activities will have capable people to continue this effort.

Emeritus Professor Calliope Spinellis
"Today, there are several well-qualified criminologists in Greece".

Victim offender mediation in family violence cases
The greek experience

by Vasso Artinopoulou,
Ass. Professor of Criminology,  Panteion University (GR) 
The article describes the implementation of victim offender mediation as provided by law in cases of domestic violence in Greece

Improving prison conditions in Greece
... by Nestor E. Courakis
Professor of Criminology & Penology
Faculty of Law, University of Athens (GR)
"This editorial is dedicated to prisons and the Greek penal system since we believe it is the duty of any society to give priority to correctional topics and have as its main objective to improve prison conditions.
How might this improvement be achieved, however?
With this issue we celebrate the English-language edition of the Greek electronic journal “The Art of Crime”. It would be trite to discuss here emotions such as elation and hope that of course are called for at a time like this. The overwhelming emotion, at least to me, is gratitude to the main protagonists of this first criminological electronic magazine in our country, i.e. to Fotios Spyropoulos and Dionysis Chionis ..."

Innocent prisoners and deceived offenders
"punishing somebody who is innocent is a crime"
Have you ever considered what it would be like to be wrongly arrested by the authorities, detained on remand, and after a few months it was proved that you had been wrongly accused and had nothing to do with the case? The issue of wrongful remand of prisoners came to light again in Greece with the case of a young man from the greek island of Mytilene who was arrested and prosecuted for rape and attempted serial rape of 5 women...

Constantine Gardikas
Constantine Gardikas, the son of George Gardikas, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Athens, was born in the city of Patras in 1896. Constantine Gardikas developed into a prolific scientist with a solid classical education.

He studied law in Athens, and he continued his studies in Zurich and Geneva specializing in criminal law and criminology.  He received his doctorate degree at the age of 22 and then started lecturing at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. ...

Advice on the use of credit cards

"Plastic money" has replaced cash as the dominant method of payment in our everyday transactions.
We are familiar, therefore, with the use of credit cards, but how well do we know to protect ourselves from credit card fraud?
Problems of reoffending of young detainees
Conclusions of the follow-up research of the Center for Penal and Criminological Research (University of Athens)
 by Nestor E. Courakis
       Professor of Criminology
       University of Athens (GR)
This research was characterized as a follow-up because its main purpose was to discover first, what happened to Greek juvenile detainees with whom we had run interviews in the previous stage of the research (1993) ...

“Asking people…”
Interesting questions and even more interesting responses

The events that took place in late 2008, in Greece, in the state correctional facilities, the hunger strike of prisoners and the widespread violent protests concerning prison conditions didn’t leave us unaffected. So we found the opportunity to ask people’s opinion on this important issue. We take the recorder into the street ... and ask YOUR opinion:

"Do you believe there must be changes in the conditions of imprisonment in our country and if so, what should they be?”


The profile of a famous greek criminal through the eye of a camera, the lyrics of a song and his autobiography

A book, a song, and a movie with the same protagonist…
Nikos Koemtzis, a famous Greek criminal who killed three people and stabbed seven more, all because he wanted to dance to a song he had "ordered" from the musicians in a music hall. He transferred the story of his life to a book. Dionysis Savvopoulos (a famous Greek singer-songwriter) read the book and turned it into a song. Pavlos Tassios (a well known Greek director) heard the song and made a film. And now we present a criminologist’s scientific analysis of this artistic triptych.
A case study of a recidivist criminal
This is the interesting story of a recidivist criminal (Elias) who is incarcerated in a Greek prison. We managed to interview him, unattended, in late May 1999 in a special area in the guardhouse yard. The main topic of our conversation was his life story, the life of a young man through the prison bars… 


Constanteion - Centre of Criminology & Psychology Researches

Federation of Prison Officers

Professor Nestor Courakis

Ministry of Citizen Protection

I feel safe

Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights

Hellenic Supreme Court of Civil and Penal Law


Professor Giannis Panousis

Centre for Psychoanalytic Research

Sector of Criminal Sciences - Faculty of Law - National & Kapodistrian University of Athens

Association of greek criminologists - Panteion University

Centre of Social Research - Technological Education Institute of Messolonghi

Sector of Criminology - Panteion University

Sector of Penal and Criminological Sciences - Faculty of Law - Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

European Court of Human Rights - Search Portal

Hellenic League for Human Rights

Marangkopoulos Foundation for Human Rights

Faculty of Law - National & Kapodistrian University of Athens

Centre for Penal and Criminological Research

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