Cyprus Mail

Prison conditions improving

By Constantinos Psillides
CONDITIONS in Central Prison have improved greatly in recent years, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Monday, following an official visit to the premises along with MPs from the House human rights committee.
Roula Mavronikola, EDEK MP, issued a statement following the visit praising Nicolaou for improving conditions at the Central Prison, citing the new medical wing and the minors’ wing as examples. But she added that despite all the positive changes, there was still much more to be done.
Nicolaou said that conditions improved after he gave the green-light to the Central Prison administration to change some of its policies.
“A policy of taking away privileges and locking up inmates in solidarity confinement. At my direction that has changed and working together with the inmates we are managing to improve life for everyone in the prison,” said Nicolaou, while conceding much more needed to be done.
While the minister tried to paint a rosy picture, the Central Prisons have featured in local news for a number of unfortunate incidents. A young inmate committed suicide on August 26 by hanging himself in his cell. A total of six suicides have taken place in the last two years.
Also, a week ago a probe was ordered after a prison guard reportedly forced inmates working at the prison’s printing department to print flyers for his daughter’s private institute, for free.
“Our goal is to reform this place so as to avoid any more unpleasant incidents. We are trying to help inmates to serve their sentence and be introduced back to society as reformed citizens,” said Nicolaou, asking the MPs present for their help in securing funds for building a new prison wing and staff the prison with highly qualified personnel.

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