Female Corradino inmate hospitalised after attempted suicide

Female prison inmate hospitalised but condition as yet is unknown

A female inmate of Corradino Correctional Facility has been admitted to Mater Dei Hospital after an attempted suicide. The incident happened at 7:55am.

In a statement from CCF, the prison authorities said the woman was found out of her senses inside her cell. She was seen to by the prison doctor and nurses, before being taken to hospital for emergency care.

CCF said the person had been continuously monitored by a psychiatrist, with the last visit having been the 3 June. The last pyschiatric report issued had stated that the inmate had registered progress and no risk of suicide had been evidenced.

District police is investigating the matter, with an inquiry launched by duty magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.

The news once again raises serious concerns about the state of Malta’s prison, which has the highest growth rate in incarceration as well as the highest suicide rate.

Between 2019 and 2020, the prison population grew by 15.2%, the highest in Europe, while CCF registered the highest suicide rate in Europe, 25.2 per 10,000 inmates, after Iceland (61), which was however excluded from a general ranking since its population was less than 500,000.

The deaths of five inmates at Corradino Correctional Facility are still under magisterial inquiry. Six deaths have occurred at CCF since 2013, but the cause of five of these deaths has yet to be determined. Between 2013 and 2020, there were 26 prisoners’ deaths: 20 of them occurred at Mater Dei Hospital or in other care facilities such as Mount Carmel Hospital. The governmt says 16 of these deaths are listed as “natural causes”, whereas five deaths were caused by suicide. The cause of the remaining five deaths are yet to be determined.

The Nationalist Party has critisied the management of the Corradino Correctional Facility, after a Maltese inmate awaiting extradition to the United States on a charge of sexual molestation of children in 1986 and 1987, committed suicide. Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami has said the prison lacks effective protocols to prevent such deaths, and accused home affairs minister Byron Camilleri of “hidoing behind inquiries and statements.”

Malta’s prison director Alexander Dalli has repeatedly insisted that under a new regime at CCF, the prison has been rendered practically drug-free. In 2020, the Correctional Services Agency carried out 486 urine tests for cocaine, heroin, cannabis, synthetic drugs and ecstasy, with all tests proving negative.

In the previous years, there were 26 cases of drug finds inside CCF in 2019, a whopping 85 in 2018, and 62 cases in 2017.

The University of Malta academic and broadcaster Prof. Andrew Azzopardi had also launched a scathing criticism of Malta’s correctional facility at Corradino and what he described as its militarisation.

Azzopardi, dean of the Faculty of Social Wellbeing, said the Corradino prison had been turned into the “3rd regiment of the Armed Forces”, in an obvious reference to its prison director, the retired army Lt. Colonel Alex Dalli and his controversial methods of discipline.

He claimed the CCF was the site of allegations of punitive treatment, such as the inappropriate use of solitary confinement, a humiliating punishment involving the use of a chair, and the curtailment of privileges after someone spoke to the press about the internal situation at CCF.

But Dalli says he has turned the CCF from a chaotic den of criminality into a “disciplined and productive” place of correction that has disrupted an underground economy he valued at €2 million a year.