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Italy’s justice minister visits jail the place 2 inmates died as advocates warn of summertime suicides

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ROME — Italy’s justice minister visited a Turin jail on Saturday the place two girls died inside hours of one another, as prisoner advocates warned of a spate of summertime suicides in Italy‘s overcrowded detention services.

Justice Minister Carlo Nordio advised reporters his go to wasn’t an inspection or investigation into the Lorusso and Cutugno jail, however somewhat a present of solidarity with the ability following the deaths Friday. He known as for various types of detention and the conversion of navy barracks for jail use to assist relieve overcrowding.

Based on information studies and the Antigone Affiliation, which advocates for higher jail circumstances, an Italian girl killed herself in her cell on the jail, whereas a Nigerian girl died inside hours within the facility’s psychological well being ward after having refused food and drink since she arrived on July 22.

Even earlier than their deaths, Antigone had counted 42 jail suicides thus far this 12 months, following the 85 in 2022. The group recalled that summertime typically heightens jail tensions and desperation: Elevated warmth in outdated services compounds perennial overcrowding, whereas decreased personnel reduces the few instructional and different providers provided inmates.

“In summertime, life involves a cease,” Antigone’s nationwide coordinator, Susanna Marietti, wrote within the Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper Saturday. “They’re alone in entrance of desperation.”

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Nordio acknowledged overcrowding was an issue however mentioned constructing new jail services merely wasn’t an possibility given the prices, time and forms required. Relatively, he mentioned, the justice system ought to develop alternate options to detention and he proposed changing unused navy barracks to assist scale back jail populations.

Such alternate options, he mentioned, are essential as a result of there’s a “mathematical incompatibility” between the variety of inmates and Italy’s jail capability. Antigone estimates there are 10,000 extra inmates in Italy than jail beds, or a jail system working on common at 121% its capability.

“Sadly, jail suicides are a painful burden that every one nations should take care of and infrequently they’re unforeseeable,” Nordio mentioned in feedback after his midmorning go to to the ability, the place he met with personnel and prisoner advocates and was met by chants of “liberta” or “freedom” from inmates.

Italian information studies have quoted Italy’s nationwide advocate for prisoners, Bruno Mellano, as saying nobody on the jail had suggested his workplace that the Nigerian inmate hadn’t eaten for over two weeks. Her lawyer, Wilmer Perga, advised Corriere della Sera on Saturday that she wasn’t on a starvation strike in protest however had merely given up on residing.

The opposition Democratic Get together mentioned Nordio’s go to wasn’t sufficient, arguing the right-wing authorities of Premier Giorgia Meloni hasn’t prioritized bettering jail circumstances or addressing psychological well being points amongst inmates.

Lawmaker Debora Serracchiani, answerable for justice issues for the Democrats, mentioned Nordio had rejected the opposition’s proposed amendments to treatment funds cuts and its proposals to incentivize psychiatrists and psychologists to work in prisons. In an announcement, she lamented that he refused to contemplate new development in favor of “speaking about barracks.”

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