The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Close Division 6, build new prison, reduce number of inmates – University dean

Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 06:32 Last update: about 8 days ago

The dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing is suggesting a prison reform that includes the closing down of Division 6, used for solitary confinement.

He is also recommending the building of a new prison and the reduction of inmates to a third of the 700 there are at present.

Writing his weekly column on The Malta Independent, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi also speaks of a need to commission “a full-scale inquiry … to address the spate of deaths and (find out) what is causing people to feel so desperate they need to commit suicide.”

ADVERTISEMENT

There have been 10 deaths in prison in the last two years, prompting the Home Affairs Minister to say that inquiries into these deaths will be studied to see what can be done to prevent other tragedies.

The Opposition has been critical of the way the government is handling the situation, saying that prison has become a place of fear, rather than a place for reform.

Prof. Andrew Azzopardi 


He said that staff needs to be trained not only in physical restraint but also in mental health first-aid.  A clear protocol of how to deal with potential suicide needs to be developed, Azzopardi writes.

He also highlighted the need to reduce the number of inmates in prison. “Over 700 people in prison is way too much. We need to devise incentives to drop the population to a third of what it is in the coming 10 years and in the next five years build a completely new prison.”

“We need to introduce tagging, focus more on community services, strengthen the use of probation and parole, and remove life sentences,” he adds.

Azzopardi stressed that inmates need to pay for what they did, but also be given an opportunity to redeem themselves.

See full article here

  • don't miss