Malta: the Corradino correctional facility is “diabolical” and the prison system should be completely revised
Dean of the Faculty of social wellbeing Andrew Azzopardi said that it is “bursting at the seams”. “A few years ago, we were speaking about 200 to 300 people spending time in jail. It is now full up"
The Dean questioned the mechanisms that judges can utilise when handing down sentences to those convicted. “We need to ask: ‘Why are there more people in jail?’ Is it because we are being more efficient in the way we are investigating, or are there other difficulties, such as judges not having other mechanisms which they can use like tagging, or community service? Are the penalties too harsh when it comes to, for example, certain drug related offences?” Azzopardi questioned.
He stated his concerns regarding the Director of the Correctional Facility, who has an “extraordinary amount of power” given to him by law, amongst other issues.
“Firstly, the Correctional Facility is not rehabilitative. Secondly, that place is diabolical. You wouldn’t put a pig in there, let alone a person“ he said.“Would you put a person in a division where he never sees the light of the sun for a year? Would you put a person in a cell where cockroaches and mice pass by? Is this rehabilitation?“ Azzopardi vehemently questioned.
The Dean said that “this place is generating more anger in these people and so when they finish their sentence and come out into the world, they end up with a greater feeling of antagonism towards society; angrier and not rehabilitated”
Azzopardi was asked how the Maltese mentality can change given that a lot of people consider such treatment as something that prisoners deserve. He noted that there are ways to improve the situation. “Look at the project being handled by the Rehabilitation In Society Malta Foundation (RISe). It is a non-governmental project led by Father Franco and they help people who spend the tail-end of their jail sentence with them” he said.