59 prison suicides hit record this year

(ANSA) – ROME, Sept 2 – Italy has set a new record for 59 prison suicides this year, prisoners’ rights group Antigone said on Friday.

At least one prisoner dies every four days, with 15 prisoners dying in August alone, or one prisoner every two days, the association said.

Antigone urged more attention and action on the phenomenon, saying it had seen a “worrisome acceleration” this year.

In fact, just two-thirds of the way through this year, it has already surpassed last year’s 57 deaths.

“This year’s numbers are an unprecedented and real alarm,” said Antgone.

“It is not easy to find explanations. It is not easy to find solutions. I know.

“We have to modernize it and do everything we can to bring it to the scale of men and women and to close the distance between the inside and the outside.”

Antigone said Italy’s overall suicide rate is among the lowest in the world, but its prison suicide rate is 10th in the world, 16 times higher than Italy’s out-of-prison suicide rate. .

Four of the 59 people who have committed suicide in prisons so far this year have been women, which is a staggering number as women make up only 4.2% of the prison population, Antigone continued.

One woman committed suicide in prison in 2020, but no one committed suicide in 209.

The average age of suicide in prison is 37, with the highest age group between 30 and 39, with 21 suicides this year.

This is followed by a group of 20-29 year olds, followed by 16 year olds.

About 28 foreign inmates committed suicide this year, accounting for 45.7% of the total, well above the proportion of less than one-third of all inmates.

Chronic overcrowding and poor services are among the factors responsible for Italy’s high prison suicide rate.

The national guarantor of those deprived of their personal liberties called the spate of suicides on Friday a “massacre.”

He said the 59th victim this year was a young Pakistani man who committed suicide at a migrant detention center in Gradiska di Sontso, near Venice. (ANSA).

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