Prisons and Parole

Leonidas Cheliotis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


With a response by Roy D. King, pp. 593-605.

Extended version of: Cheliotis, L. K. (2010) ‘Greece’, in N. Padfield, D. van Zyl Smit and F. Duenkel (eds) Release from Prison: European Policy and Practice, pp. 213-236. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Recent years have witnessed an immense growth in the use of imprisonment in Greece. Overcrowding in prison establishments is staggering and living conditions are deplorable, turning unrest and even riots into commonplace occurrences. With international watchdogs and national pressure groups joining prisoners in the chorus of outcry, the Greek state has been promising to effectuate fundamental reforms, including a decisive turn towards decarceration. This is meant mainly in the twofold sense of promoting diversionary alternatives at the pre-sentencing and sentencing stages, on the one hand, and enhancing parole opportunities for those behind bars, on the other. Promises, however, have proved to be sheer rhetoric. This chapter begins by addressing the issue of how to gauge the scale of imprisonment in contemporary Greece. With reference to heretofore ignored indicators (i.e., annual prisoner caseloads and annual prison admissions), it is revealed that rates of imprisonment in the country are higher than commonly reported. Moving from description to explanation, it is further shown that imprisonment under conviction has risen at a faster pace than pre-trial detention; that the inflation of imprisonment under conviction has resulted from a tremendous rise in the duration of stay in prison, more so than from a rise in the rate of prison admissions as such; that the extended duration of stay in prison under conviction has stemmed from the increasing length of custodial sentences and the parallel shrinking of rates of discharge on parole; and that the upward trend in the use of imprisonment can be traced to the so-dubbed ‘liberal’ 1980s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime and Punishment in Contemporary Greece
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Comparative Perspectives
EditorsLeonidas Cheliotis, Sappho Xenakis
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)9783039115624
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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  • Greece

    Cheliotis, L., 2010, Release from Prison: European Policy and Practice. Padfield, N., Smit, D. V. Z. & Duenkel, F. (eds.). Willan Publishing, p. 213-36 24 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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