The 30-year-old prisoner who attempted suicide at the prison on Sunday afternoon was being followed by professionals and was not on suicide watch, the Correctional Services Agency said on Thursday.
In reply to Times of Malta questions, an agency spokesman said the inmate, who was being held at the Corradino Correctional Facility in preventive custody after having been denied bail, “never indicated threats of suicide”.
“The last specialist psychiatric assessment was done four days prior to the incident and no psychiatric concern was elicited,” the spokesman said.
Asked whether the same inmate had threatened to commit suicide during a previous stint in jail and had also been transferred to the forensic ward at Mount Carmel Hospital to be followed closely by professionals, the spokesman said such details could not be divulged out of respect for the inmate’s privacy. He said the inmate had been “provided with a care plan upon re-entering the CCF”.
He also denied the man had been held in solitary confinement, saying he was not in a single cell when the incident occurred.
The last specialist psychiatric assessment was done four days prior to the incident and no psychiatric concern was elicited
The inmate, a Maltese national, was found in his Division 12 cell at 5.05pm on Sunday. He was first given first aid by his cellmate, who found him, and then assisted by the facility’s doctors and nurses before being transferred to Mater Dei Hospital in critical condition.
Sources said the prisoner was alone in his cell at the time and there were “no indications that he was in distress in recent weeks”.
The fresh attempted suicide sparked anger, with TV presenter Peppi Azzopardi lashing out at the prison authorities for failing to properly follow someone who had expressed suicidal thoughts in the past. He said he had spoken to the man’s distraught mother.
Azzopardi questioned whether records which show that he had suicidal thoughts were followed up or whether the prison authorities just couldn’t care less.
He reiterated that prisoners who were highly dependent on drugs should be held in a place “full of love”, such as those run by Caritas, Sedqa or Oasi.
Following the attempted suicide case, the Home Affairs Ministry announced that it had set up an inquiry board to evaluate internal procedures at the prisons in terms of the inmates’ mental and physical health, as well as suicide prevention measures.
Twelve prisoners have died while serving time at Corradino Correctional Facility over the last three years.