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President hails changes at Central Prisons

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.The prisoners' theatre group performing Miracle company last night

President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday attended a performance by the prisoners’ theatre group, saying he was proud of all the progress made at the Nicosia Central Prisons in the past five years.

The theatre group, which received much praise for previous performances, staged the Greek play “Eteria thavmaton” (Miracle company) by Demetris Psathas at Latsia municipal theatre.

Anastasiades said that despite his initial qualms about the appointment of director Anna Aristotelous and deputy Athena Demetriou, the past five years have seen the image of the prisons change along with the lives of the people in them, as management shifted away from ruling through force and subordination.

“Today we are an example, making our country proud,” he said, by creating conditions through inclusion and rehabilitation, that will allow prisoners to re-enter society in a sustainable way.

The Central Prisons are now a point of reference at various international summits and even Netflix, he said, referring to the proposals received to feature the facility on a documentary on prisons.

“This reflects an image far removed from a place where human rights and dignity are violated, but rather the opposite,” he said.

“It is enough to consider that in the past five years we have seen nine education programmes in prisons, and 19 prisoners going to university,” Anastasiades added.

He said that he and the House legal affairs committee are also discussing the matter of overcrowding in prisons and ways through which it can be alleviated.

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