Malta’s prison facility is once again under heavy fire after another suicide death. In terms of suicide attempts taking place in prison, Malta is one of the leading countries when compared to others in Europe.
In the wake of the recent controversies, several entities including NGOs, professional associations and academic institutions have joined together in a bid to demand radical changes within Malta’s prison. They demand more monitoring from the state about the happenings within the Corradino correctional facility.
Concern was expressed and emphasis was made that prison should focus on rehabilitation and helping inmates reintegrate within society. The impression being created is that prison is a place of intense punishment.
Over the past eight years, Malta recorded thirteen prison deaths, two of which committed suicide over the past months. It is important to note that not all deaths are suicides. Some died of natural causes whilst for others, a conclusion has either not yet been reached or communicated publicly.
The government is facing staunch criticism from the opposition with respect to the way the prison is being handled. This criticism is also targeted at individuals including the Minister for Home Affairs Byron Camilleri and the director of the prison, Alexander Dalli. Following the most recent death, the Minister Byron Camilleri appointed an inquiry to oversee internal procedures within the facility. The opposition referred to the system as a proven failure.
The situation within the prison is immensely suspicious, especially after the interview where a former inmate blasted the management with extensive criticism. Byron Camilleri, although he acknowledges that there are existing problems, he emphasises that the situation is better than in previous years.
One of the problems being mentioned is that of overcrowding, following an increase of inmates. There is also the fact that criminals of a certain caliber are being grouped with people who are in prison because of addictions.
The government is being called upon to upscale its monitoring of the prison and hold people accountable for their shortcomings. Some of the procedures within prison should also be examined, one of which being solitary confinement,
What are your views about the situation in prison? Do you think that improvements should be made? Let us know in the comments section below.