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Concern over care for inmates in isolation

The National Commission for the Prevention of Torture has expressed concern at “nationwide problems” arising from keeping certain prisoners in isolation.

This content was published on February 20, 2012 - 13:18
swissinfo.ch and agencies

It follows a visit to the high security prison of Bochuz, where an inmate died in 2010 after setting fire to his mattress in his cell. Following his death it was widely recognised that he should have been hospitalised in a mental healthcare institution rather than kept in prison.

The Commission said it was essential for prison authorities to review the overall detention conditions of people who have followed a course of therapy.

The Commission found that there were serious weaknesses in Bochuz’s division in charge of the security of inmates kept in strict isolation.

But it praised the prison’s efforts to improve conditions for inmates and the infrastructure since 2010. It appeared to be determined to end prolonged stays in strict isolation, and medium and long-term plans to set up a hospital for treating people suffering from psychiatric problems was also on the cards.

The Commission noted that according to Swiss penal law, keeping prisoners in strict isolation was only advised for the shortest durations and with specific goals.

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