Following four suicides in the past 12 months, one of which was yesterday, as well as the current crisis in Central Prisons, deputy head warden George Tryfonides, did admit that staff have a certain degree of responsibility but pointed to system inadequacies as well.
"Inmates with serious psychiatric problems, should be taken to institutions and not thrown in prisons," he said.
He said that a report on the rape of the young Romanian, allegedly orchestrated by an inmate serving a life sentence, who is accused of repeated sexual deviancy, was submitted to the Justice Minister on Friday.
Tryfonides announced the suspension, expected later today, of the guards responsible for the safety of a young Greek inmate who made an attempt on his life on Saturday. The inmate is being treated at the Nicosia General. He said that although the man, who had previously made attempts on his life, was not allowed to work with his brother in the same wing, he was transferred there along with eight other inmates.
Staff are to blame, he noted, for inadequate checks, as there were only 10 youths in the wing. Asked whether a wing should be created for people with psychiatric issues, the deputy head warden said financial difficulties do not allow for such changes. The Central Prisons Deputy Head Warden was of the view that suicides and attempted suicides are not connected to the financial crisis and do not involve people who are serving sentences over unpaid debts.
And Tryfonides strongly criticised the Attorney General's Office for not dealing with inmates that are facing psychological problems but simply blame Central Prisons authorities for suicide incidents.
"There are currently 700 inmates and if half of them have psychological problems that needs to be dealt with, or the Central Prisons will become Europe's super medical centre."
He referred to prisons with five separate wings for inmates with different needs and specialised medical staff. 'I am not a psychiatrist, a doctor or a sociologist'.