Malta: Faculty for Social Wellbeing dean calls for end to solitary confinement in Malta’s prison

A position paper issued by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing argues solitary confinement leads to worsening rates of recidivism

The Office of the Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta has issued a position paper calling for the end to solitary confinement in the country.

The practice of Solitary Confinement has been shown, through multiple empirical research publications, to be detrimental to prisoners’ wellbeing, resulting in negative effects on their physical, psychological and social health, as well as worsening rates of recidivism,” the document reads.

The authors of the document have called for a reform concerning the amendment of legal provisions that are currently stipulated in Chapter 9 of the Criminal Code of Malta.

The amendments allow for solitary confinement to be handed down as part of a prison sentence. Solitary confinement handed down by the courts is not allowed to exceed 10 continuous days.

It is suggested that the primary aim of such overhaul would be to remove clauses which allow for Solitary Confinement to be used as a punishment as part of court sentences at their discretion” the paper reads.

Faculty Dean Andrew Azzopardi has been quite vocal against the use of solitary confinement in Malta’s prisons over the last two years, calling for a parliamentary debate in the House of Representatives on the issue in 2019.

He had argued locking prisoners up in solitary confinement for hours will not make Malta any safer, but rather makes inmates more vengeful.