'Suicide every 3 days' in jail

2009-08-06 20:07
Paris - French prisons, criticised at home and abroad for overcrowding and generally poor conditions, have seen an inmate suicide every three days so far this year, a rights group said on Thursday.

Authorities declined to provide official figures, but the International Prison Observatory said 88 prisoners have killed themselves this year.

"On August 1 we reached a level that we haven't reached since 1997," Francois Bes of the Observatory told AFP. "We are in a really worrying situation."

Official figures show that 115 inmates took their own lives in 2008 and 96 did so in 2007.

The Council of Europe rights watchdog has repeatedly slammed French prisons as overcrowded and dilapidated.

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