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Poor health highlighted at notorious jail

A study conducted by researchers at Geneva’s University Hospital has found that nearly 60 per cent of inmates at Switzerland’s most overcrowded jail suffer from medical problems.

This content was published on June 2, 2011 - 14:54
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The findings, which have been published in the BMC Public Health Journal, also revealed that one in every three at Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison had a psychological problem.

The researchers based the findings on documentation related to more than 2,000 inmates who were in investigative custody at the jail in 2007.

More than 40 per cent suffered from symptoms that could not be clearly diagnosed, such as sleeplessness, back pain and anxiety. The study also found that two-thirds were smokers, 40 per cent took illegal drugs and one third consumed alcohol in excessive quantities.

Infectious diseases were diagnosed in 23 per cent of the cases, and a further 30 per cent had other medical issues including problems with their skin and joints, and difficulties breathing and with their digestion.

Nearly a third had injuries with many saying they had suffered them during their arrest.

The prevalence of tuberculosis and Hepatitis C or the percentage of heroin addicts was up to ten times higher in the jail than in the general Swiss population.

The authors added that 93 per cent of the inmates surveyed were foreigners.

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