In this episode, Insiders opens the gates of Europe’s prisons.
Our reporter Lilia Rotoloni investigates from Italy, where 80 percent of prisons are over 100 years old. At least one dates from the 15th century. Despite penal reforms, jails are overcrowded and crumbling.
She also reports from France, where suicide rates in prisons are almost double the European average. Some doctors appear to prescribe anti-depressants like sweets, to calm down inmates – but some prisoners stock up on them to commit suicide.
Inmates, nurses, psychiatrists: all describe a system in crisis, a stretched ‘dustbin’ for the people society does not want to see.
We also hear from Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), a Council of Europe body of independent experts whose mandate is to visit detention centres to assess how inmates are treated.
He urges governments to invest in their prison estates to improve conditions he says are in some cases “very alarming and completely unacceptable,” such as inmates having to sleep in the same bed.