Updated at 1 pm with PN statement.
Former army colonel Alex Dalli will not be reappointed prison director, the government has confirmed as an inquiry probing internal procedures at the Corradino Correctional Facility is concluded
The board, led by psychiatrist Anton Grech, was appointed by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in August after a prisoner attempted suicide in his cell.
Their report details 32 recommendations including appointing a commissioner for prisoners' rights.
Other reforms include a more powerful monitoring board, a new rehabilitation centre in the prison and a family room outside that would allow prisoners to meet their children outside of the facility.
Dalli suspended himself last month following a string of suicides and deaths behind bars that saw simmering concerns about his methods boil over.
According to Camilleri, the government is looking at ways "to make use of his talents" saying he brought about much-needed change and improved the situation in the prisons.
He did not say what role was being eyed for Dalli. A former army colonel, he ran the prison since 2018.
He was consistently under fire for his unorthodox methods of discipline, which included a poster that told officials to “teach fear” and a restraining chair to which unruly inmates were strapped.
However, he was also praised for breaking up prison violence, weeding out drugs, pushing for upgrades to the Victorian era facility, and overseeing a recruitment drive for rehabilitation professionals.
Robert Brincau, formerly of the Red Cross, who ran detention services at the prison, was appointed acting director following Dalli's 'self-suspension'.
He is expected to be confirmed in the role later on Friday.
According to Camilleri, the board made 32 recommendations, among them on the need for more checks and balances, better classification of prisoners, a system directed at different security levels, setting up of rehab centre, measures to improve the psychosocial state of prisoners, setting up of independent entity to safeguard prisoners’ well-being and the setting up of place outside the prison especially when minors are involved.
The minister said the government would be taking all these recommendations onboard and is committing to implementing them throughout 2022.
Camilleri said the series of reforms will start being implemented from Friday.
PM should sack minister, PN says
In a statement on Friday afternoon, the Nationalist Party said the inquiry’s findings were a confirmation of the "disastrous" state of the correctional facility.
Prime Minister Robert Abela, the PN said, should dismiss the home affairs minister at once.
Minister Camilleri should also ask for an apology for the way the prison was being run, the PN said.
What are the key reforms?
- A Commissioner for the prisoners’ rights and well-being will be appointed later today. The Office will be an independent one and a person will be appointed to the role in the coming days.
- A monitoring board will be given more powers and its decision will be final.
- A rehabilitation centre set up in prison. Some 140 prisoners will be placed here in five different wings. The Massimiliano Kolbe centre will make it possible for different issues to be tackled, be it drugs, alcohol, thefts, sexual crimes and more, Camilleri said. The building will be inside CCF but will be focused solely on rehabilitation. "We felt the need to have a facility that can take a lot of people. We are in talks with other entities about this. Work on this facility has already started."
- A family room outside the facility will be set up. This, the minister said, will give space for meetings outside the prison, something that is especially important for those with children.
- More opportunities for those in prison, with prisoners able to follow accreditated courses.
- The reintegration of prisoners will be "facilitated" by allowing them to be released between 12pm and 5pm when their sentence is over, rather than the current 7pm.
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