Malta: when it comes to prison, the statistics are very telling

Statistics are very telling. In Malta the rate of recidivism (people who commit crimes upon release and end up in prison again) is at around 70 per cent, if not more.

We have too many prisoners: 154 prisoners per 100,000 of the population. The European average is 117. In Norway it’s 63 prisoners per 100,000. We are inching closer to the countries with the largest prison populations: Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey… all countries with rubbish democratic credentials.

There are about 800 prisoners in Corradino at the moment; about half of them Maltese. The majority are serving a sentence for violence, rape, theft or drug-related crimes. None receive tailor-made therapy. They are watched over by warders.

Each Maltese prisoner costs taxpayers around €100 a day; a prisoner in Norway costs triple that. But because of the low number of prisoners, prisons effectively cost the same to operate in both countries – around €24 million a year. The difference is that those €300 a day in Norway, mean that, by the end of the sentence, the prisoner is reformed, fully qualified, holds a job and is no longer a threat to society. In Malta when prisoners are released, they are simply handed back the clothes they wore the first day they were locked up.