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Occupancy at Champ-Dollon prison hits record

The number of inmates at Champ-Dollon, Switzerland's most overcrowded jail, reached record numbers in 2010.

Built in 1977 for 270 detainees, the prison held an average of 564 people last year, and on July 18 a record 622 were behind bars. Of these 94 per cent were men and the majority aged 18-39.

Champ-Dollon has been chronically overcrowded for years. Campaigners say this has obvious consequences for detainees’ living conditions: poor sanitation and promiscuity. It also affects access to health care and legal counsel and could endanger safety.

Owing to the number of detainees and lack of work opportunities, most inmates must spend 23 out of 24 hours in their cells.

A 2010 study found that almost half the inmates at Champ-Dollon suffer from psychological problems.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR