By Evie Andreou
A 30-YEAR-OLD inmate at the Central Prison in Nicosia attempted to commit suicide on Thursday.
The 30-year-old, who reportedly has a history of psychological problems, wrapped a sheet around his neck and tried to asphyxiate himself.
According to reports, the inmate was found unconscious by his cell mates at around 9am and revived with a defibrillator but a spokesperson for the prison denied this, saying two prison wardens had spotted him in time and prevented the suicide attempt from going any further.
The inmate is now at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital where he has been admitted twice previously since his incarceration a year ago. The 30-year-old, is serving time for petty theft and is expected to be released in January.
The central prisons have been in the spotlight since a spate of suicides and attempted suicides last year. The problem was put down to overcrowding, mixing serious felons with non-violent convicts, lack of privileges such as hot water and electricity, and excessive use of solitary confinement.
Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, recently announced a plan drawn up by his ministry in cooperation with the Ombudswoman’s office, to reduce prison overcrowding, to improve the relationship between wardens and inmates and to upgrade the welfare of inmates. The plan include staff training, the opening of a new medical wing that will monitor inmates who may be suffering from psychological problems and the reallocation of prisoners depending on the length of sentence and level of risk.
In order to improve the inmates’ living conditions, the prison introduced longer periods of hot water, electricity 24/7, open visiting hours for all prisoners, more phone calls, more entertainment and sports.