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With large prisoner numbers and detention times far in excess of European averages, pre-trial detention is being abused by the Greek justice system.
People waiting for a final sentence often suffer worse conditions than convicted prisoners, even if they're innocent.
Danijoy Pontes, 23 years old, was sent to pre-trial detention in 2020, for a total of 11 months. He died in a Lisbon prison: Divergente dug his story as part of EDJNet's investigation on the abuse and risks of pre-trial detention in Europe.
One in five people jailed in the European Union hasn't been convicted of a crime — including 12,000 in Germany alone. Studies suggest that pretrial detention is unnecessary in most cases.
In Europe there were 17.5 suicides per 10,000 people in pretrial detention in 2021, while the proportion was 8.54 deaths in the rest of the prison population.
The spread of coronavirus in Greek prisons was 1.4 times faster than in the general population during July-February 2022. The occupancy rate increased during the pandemic, and one in three prisoners is estimated to have contracted the coronavirus to date.
The Hungarian prison system has undergone a significant transformation in recent years: prison capacity has been expanded and institutions have been modernised. But imprisonment is only one form of punishment.
While the poor state of French prisons led many to fear a serious health crisis in the wake of Covid-19, the worst of those fears have not materialised. However, the drastic lockdown measures have done nothing to benefit the mental health of detainees. Nor have they led to any serious reevaluation of the system itself.
Overcrowding, abuse of the minimum personal space of prisoners, hospitalization without segregation of patients, crowded quarantine, lack of medical staff and health measures, delayed vaccination - these are just some of the causes that lead to the virus’s spread.
During the first months of the pandemic, the spread of the virus in Greek prisons appeared to have been limited. Today it is estimated that one in three inmates has contracted coronavirus, despite the fact that correctional facilities were operating under a strict lockdown. What went wrong?