Issue 1 - September 2010

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

This column is perhaps the most dynamic part of the journal. We take the recorder into the street ... and ask YOUR opinion on matters of criminological interest to which EVERYONE has the right to express his personal opinion even if not an expert in the matter. Certainly, we must clarify that this effort does not constitute any kind of investigation or research but is rather an interesting (we hope!) journalistic recording of people’s views.


"Do you believe there must be changes in the conditions of imprisonment in Greece?"

by Artemisia Pappas,
Athens Law School student
Konstantinos Panagos,
Thessaloniki Law School student
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.[1]
"Do you believe there must be changes in the conditions of imprisonment in our country and if so, what should they be?”
John, 24 years old, soldier
Obviously we need to change the whole system, both for society but especially for prisoners themselves. We have to spend money on improving prison conditions, because they are people too and we should defend their rights and give them a second chance at life. Their education and involvement are key issues; however we should look in particular to their medical care and psychological support.
Anastasia, 26, scholar
Changes should be made to prison infrastructure, but mainly in our perception that imprisonment is revenge for the offender’s actions. We need to focus on juvenile prisons. Teenage offenders need education to reintegrate smoothly into society. In Spain a judge imposed a community service sentence on a teenage hacker to offer computer lessons to 100 children. Using this technique, 80% of teenagers do not re-offend, whilst in our country, 80% continue to violate the law.
Dimitris, 20, student of Architecture
Changes in prison conditions are essential. We don’t only need money to change things. Basically, common prisons for criminals should be abolished. The prison system does not work, instead it breeds criminal ‘experts’. They should also reduce the number of prisoners in each prison in order to improve conditions. Whatever the crime, one deserves to have minimum living standards, decent cells, bathrooms and access to a courtyard. The dignity of human life must be protected at all costs. We must care about education and involvement with activities and crafts.
Joanne, 61, retired teacher
I believe in rehabilitation, and therefore the appropriate conditions should be available. We should not punish  them for what happened, as this cannot be forgotten, as Plato said in the Protagoras.
Agapi, 32, private employee
Yes, of course. They should be treated with more human terms. Hygiene should be better. They must be taught culture, but also to live in a civilized manner.
Vasilis, 58, chemical engineer
I believe that prison conditions should be dignified but up to a point. The state must first spend to meet the essential needs of society, and then spend money on prisoners.
Ariadne, 24, decorator
It is commonly understood that there is a problem. We must establish a modernized system of imprisonment with a focus on the man and not the punishment. The improvements should begin by meeting their basic needs and encourage personal development programs and offer social work.
Panagiotis, 23, student at the Polytechnic School of Aristotle University
The truth is that I do not know much about the issue. Because of recent news, I was informed about the problems that exist in Greek prisons. I think the emphasis should fall on the return of these people in society. The Greek state must support them so they don’t re-offend. It is necessary to make everybody aware that the goal of the sentence should be reformation. Otherwise, we will have failed as a society generally.
Anna, 25, Lawyer
I think the problem of overpopulation is the biggest issue facing the Greek prison system at this time. It is not possible for so many prisoners to live in a cell, without providing the minimum necessary living standards. Of course it affects human dignity; nobody can be imprisoned under these conditions. Nor is it possible to avoid tensions between prisoners in overcrowded situations.
Joy, 22, Psychology Student
I believe that the ongoing psychological support for prisoners is crucial to the reform and smooth reintegration of prisoners into society. The effects of incarceration on the psyche of these people are certainly serious and should be treated by specialists. Recently, I heard in a program that the number of psychologists in prisons in this country is minimal, and not sufficient to support a large proportion of prisoners.
Ilias, 32, Teacher of literature
This is an eternal question. Unfortunately, from what I heard last year in particular, the problems to be overcome are multiple. One of these is the communication between prisoners with their relatives. This should be conducted without physical obstacles, such as glass dividers. Otherwise it is inhuman to not be able to speak with members of your family.
Angela, 46, Housewife
The health issues are very serious. You cannot impose a sentence forcing someone to live under such harsh and unsanitary conditions. Surely the offender must realize the mistake he made, not through punishment but through reform. When you are denied the right to live like a human being, you cannot engage with the reform process.
George, 24, Student, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Overall, I feel that there must be many changes in prisons. The question is labyrinthine. Unfortunately, the problems are many. Ive heard that too many people live in each cell, leading to many other problems. I can not imagine myself easily co-habiting with another person... and I cannot imagine how these people live.



[1] Monday 3rd November through to Friday 21st November saw one of the longest hunger strikes in the world take place, involving all the Greek prisons. Among the hunger striker’s demands was: the abolishment of disciplinary sentences, lowering the minimum threshold of years for serving a sentence prior to conditional discharge, de-crowding of prisons, an end to the abuse of pre-trial detention, the abolishment of juvenile prison, lowering the current age “ceiling” of 25 for eligibility for leave, suspensions of the legal proceedings to be made only under statutory requirements, the adoption of alternative detention practices, improvements to living conditions, visiting rights and more humane conditions of transport.

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 ..."

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

"EPANODOS" (“Return” back to the society)
Rehabilitation Center for ex-prisoners
Presentation, challenges and objectives

Congress of the Greek Society of Criminology:
"Criminology and current challenges"

Combating discrimination and social exclusion:
the “EPAFI” (“CONTACT”) program, where young Law students meet young inmates...

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) ...

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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