[WATCH] Hardline stance crucial for prisoner rehabilitation, minister insists

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri defends prison administration: finalised magisterial inquiries have indicated no wrongdoing

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri
Is Malta’s prison facing a crisis

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri has defended the Corradino prison administration, insisting that a hardline stance adopted by prison  director Alex Dalli will serve to improve inmates’ rehabilitation.

“The prison used to be controlled by the criminals, and everyone knows that. Finally, we have a prison administration which has full control,” he said.

Over the last months, prison director Alex Dalli came under fire for his approach in administering the Corradino Correctional Facility, having been accused of making use of a punishment chair and solitary confinement.

“Without order, prisoners cannot be rehabilitated back into society,” Camilleri argued.

Camilleri said that one must look at the wider perspective when discussing the prison system. “They deal with the most dangerous people in the country.”

On prison suicides, the minister said that three out of four magisterial inquiries into prison deaths have concluded no wrongdoing from the administration’s end. “The majority of inquiries have shown they were natural deaths, and I want the inquiries to be published,” he said. “But it is not in my remit to decide whether they should be published, it is the Attorney General’s decision to make.”

He said that government is exploring options at making the prison system safer. “We can install CCTV surveillance in all parts of the prison, allowing for immediate action from prison personnel, but I have my personal reservations,” he said.

On overpopulation in prison, Camilleri said government is already embarking on finding solutions. “We will be discussing electronic tagging in the coming weeks, but we have to ensure that society’s safety is prioritised,” he said.

He also mentioned the possibility of Malta having a maximum security and low security prison facility.

Camilleri said that the police force had gone through a period of constant criticism, which sometimes was unfair. “Yes, it could have communicated better, it could have been more transparent and accountable, but we have improved the situation greatly,” Camilleri said. “But there is always room for improvement.”