Image shows prison cell barred doors.

Prison inmate prevented from committing suicide in Potenza


Penitentiary police officers have intervened to prevent a young inmate from committing suicide at a prison in Potenza. The incident took place on 10 August.

The prisoner, a 20-year-old Italian of Roma origin, tried to hang himself from the bars of his cell after tying together his bedding. However, he was rescued by two assistant police chiefs at the jail the Basilicata regional secretary of the autonomous union of prison police (Sappe), Saverio Brienza, said on Sunday.

Brienza highlighted the “shameful” reduction in the number of prison officers in Basilicata prisons. Meanwhile Sappe Secretary General, Donato Capece, called on Justice Minister Carlo Nordio to “Set up permanent working group on the critical situation in prisons immediately”.

Prison police personnel are “exhausted by the relentless rhythm of service due to the constant and violent acts of aggression,” he added.

Recent suicides in Italian prisons

The poor conditions and chronic overcrowding in Italy’s prisons has come back into the spotlight recently.  Two female inmates committed suicide at Le Vallette prison in Turin and of a male prisoner died in Calabria on Saturday.

Nordio has said the solution is to readapt former army barracks as prisons for people convicted of minor crimes.

However, prisoners’ rights association Antigone insists more prison staff, and non-custodial measures as an alternative to imprisonment, are needed.

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