Updated Monday 7.45am

The government has appointed a board to look into the correctional services' internal procedures after a 30-year-old prisoner attempted suicide at the prisons on Sunday afternoon.

The inmate, a Maltese national, was found in his cell at 5.05pm. He was assisted by the facility's doctors and nurses and then transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in critical condition.

Sources said that the prisoner was alone in his cell when the incident happened and that there were "no indications that he was in distress in recent weeks".

On Sunday the Correctional Services Agency said the police were investigating the case and an inquiry was being held, while the Home Affairs Ministry said it will be setting up an inquiry board to evaluate internal procedures at the prisons.

It added that in the past week it had been in continuous contact with the prison boards as well as professionals serving at the prisons to set up this board.

On Monday morning the ministry published the board's terms of reference and announced that it will be led by psychiatrist Anton Grech. Academic Janice Formosa Pace and doctor George Grech will sit on the board.

Formosa Pace resigned from her post on the Corradino Correctional Facility governance board in order to serve on the inquiry board.

The board has 60 days to provide Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri with a set of proposals after it:

1. Scrutinises the Correctional Services Agency's procedures when it comes to assessing the inmates' mental and physical health upon admission at CCF. The analysis should include a study about the regulations adopted by the agency when someone is introduced to the facility.

2. Scrutinises the procedures implemented to assess the inmates' wellbeing throughout their stay at the facility.

3. Analyses the procedures implemented by the agency when someone returns to prison after being discharged from Mount Carmel Hospital, and the procedures in place that ensure continuous assessment of the inmates. 

4. Scrutinises the procedures, policy and regulations followed by the agency when it comes to the rehabilitation of inmates, including the support provided to prisoners who suffer from addiction.

5. Studies the measures linked to suicide prevention that are followed by the agency.

12 prisoners died in three years

Twelve prisoners have died while serving time at Corradino Correctional Facility over the past three years. 

Only a month ago, a woman died three weeks after she had been found unconscious in her cell in what prison officials had at the time described as a suicide attempt.

She had a severe drug problem and had been serving a two-year jail term since February but psychiatrists had not placed her on suicide watch. 

Times of Malta reported in July that magisterial inquiries into four prison deaths concluded that one was a suicide. All four had underlying heart conditions that went undetected throughout their lives.



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