[WATCH] Minister, prison director responsible for inmates leaving CCF in coffins - PN

Nationalist Party calls for Alex Dalli to be removed from his position as director of the Corradino Correctional Facility

PN spokesperson Peter Agius (center) accompanied by PN candidates Darren Carabott (left) and Graziella Galea (right)
PN spokesperson Peter Agius (center) accompanied by PN candidates Darren Carabott (left) and Graziella Galea (right)

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri must immediately remove Alex Dalli from his position as director of the Corradino Correctional Facility, following the 13th death of an inmate in the past eight years, the PN said today. 

The party insisted that if Camilleri retained Dalli, he too would be held responsible for the death of inmates under their watch.

In a press conference outside the prison in Paola, PN spokesman Peter Agius called out the absence of a reaction by the minister or CCF administration following the death on Tuesday of prison inmate Colin Galea, who had attempted suicide at CCF last week and died at Mater Dei Hospital.

“We are seeing a complete abdication of responsibility by those ultimately responsible to care and provide rehabilitation for inmates,” Agius said.

He said the correctional facility had turned into a facility where inmates walked in on their feet and came out in a coffin.

“13 inmates have left this facility in coffins under the Labour government, and someone must take responsibility for that,” he said.

Agius said that the circumstances around most of the deaths had yet to be explained.

“The director of the facility and the minister are responsible for those deaths, and the government can no longer cover for the director’s actions.”

In the longer term, Agius said that installing an ombudsman to provide oversight over the correctional facility would go a long way to ensuring inmates get a chance to rehabilitate themselves.

When questioned by this newspaper, he insisted the PN was not after having lax discipline within the facility but only wanted to ensure the inmates’ dignity and rights were safeguarded.

“Discipline is not about having a torture chair or having the director mocking prisoners,” he said. “Discipline is about following established protocols and adhering to procedures.”

Prisoners, Agius said, were taking their own lives because those conditions were not being met.

Agius was accompanied for the press conference by PN candidates Darren Carabott and Graziella Galea.

'Urgent and radical reform' needed inside CCF

On Tuesday, the PN had called for urgent and radical reform inside the Corradino Correctional Facility after the death of yet another inmate on Tuesday evening.  

The PN said that comprehensive prison reform was needed to protect prisoners’ lives whilst respecting its role as a rehabilitation facility. 

“It is clear that both minister Byron Camilleri and the current prison administration have lost all credibility to assure this,” the PN said.

The PN called for Corradino Correctional Facility’s existing leadership to be removed “immediately”. “Another inquiry is not going to solve existing problems,” the party said.

The PN said it appealed to the Prime Minister to consider the Opposition’s proposals and carry out various reforms in the sector without further delay, including providing appropriate treatment to drug victims away from Corradino Correctional Facility.

13th inmate death in last eight years 

On Tuesday, prison inmate Colin Galea, who had attempted suicide at the Corradino Correctional Facility last week, died at Mater Dei Hospital.

This is the second death this year of a prison inmate after attempting suicide. In June, 29-year-old Kim Borg attempted suicide in prison and died at Mater Dei Hospital three weeks later.

After Galea's attempted suicide, the Home Affairs Ministry announced that it would be launching a board led by psychiatrist Anton Grech to review suicide prevention measures at the prison.

READ MORE: Prison inmate who attempted suicide eight days ago dies in hospital