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Jailhouse suicides reach 47 this year say prison advocates

Another 145 inmates died from other causes in 2013

10 December, 19:03
Jailhouse suicides reach 47 this year say prison advocates (ANSA) - Rome, December 10 - Forty-seven inmates of Italian prisons have committed suicide so far this year, Ristretti Orizzonti (Restricted Horizons) prisoners' rights advocacy group made known Tuesday.

Most of the suicides were by hanging, and 22 of them were foreign citizens. Also this year, 145 prisoners died from other causes, said the group.

Ristretti Orizzonti has been monitoring jailhouse suicides and other forms of death, such as accidental drug overdoses and death from undiagnosed or untreated injuries and illnesses, since 2000. The highest number of suicides, or 72, occurred in 2009, and the highest number of non-suicide deaths, or 186, occurred in 2011.

The latest suicide occurred three days ago in the city of Viterbo's penitentiary, where Paul Badea, 51, hung himself in his cell.

A Romanian immigrant, Badea had been arrested November 13 on charges of weapons possession and copper theft.

Released into house arrest, he was returned to jail on December 6, and killed himself the following day.

Italian Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri on December 4 said the government had come up with a packet of prison-reform measures to bring Italy in line with EU standards after the European Court of Human Rights in May ordered Italy to dramatically improve its prison system, stop overcrowding and stop violating prisoners' rights.