The prison of shame is in Turin

What is really happening at the Sestante, psychiatric section of the Lorusso and Cutugno prison in Turin, pavilion A, for years at the center of a crowd of complaints, but still there, functioning and populated with guests detained in inhumane conditions?

To read the words of Susanna Marietti, national president of the Antigone association, one finds oneself in a “shameful place where human lives are given up as if they were worth nothing”. Marietti goes down hard in a long letter in which he lists the report of a visit a few days ago: «Small, dirty cells, beds in peeling metal attached to the floor with nails. I saw a man – he writes – lying with his face on the ground, in the dark, Turkish baths clogged with feces for four days, detained with his eyes at half shaft, unable even to speak and tell his discomfort. Indecent places – he comments – in which bodies are piled up ».

The data seems amply confirmed by other facts. Two weeks before Marietti’s complaint, Monica Gallo, guarantor of the Turin prisoners, had thought of writing to the Superintendent of the penitentiary administration of the North West and to the competent ASL. In a nutshell, it was a desperate cry: “I had asked for the Sextant to be closed once and for all.”

The woman had last seen him 15 days ago. “How can I define it? An inhuman and degrading place ». Nothing has been closed this time either, it is said because some restructuring works would be ready, postponed “several times” by the slow and almost never reactive bureaucratic machine of the state. And so this sector of the Turin penitentiary divided into two sections – “Observation” and “Treatment” – remained there. To host havoc that multiple rumors confirm.

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Three lawyers from the Union Prisons Observatory for Criminal Chambers this morning will appear at the prosecutor’s office to file a complaint. More: “We will ask that the Sextant be seized as a place where crimes against prisoners are committed” explains Davide Mosso who is working on the complaint together with his colleagues Alberto De Sanctis and Antonio Genovese. “The fundamental issue is that people suffering from psychiatric pathologies do not have to stay in prison but in a place of care. As foreseen by the code »says Mosso.

And Marietti relates precisely to a case of this kind in his letter: «In the last cell before the exit there was a boy. He must have been 25 years old. I asked him how it was going. Tears began to fall from his eyes. He told me he didn’t understand why he was there and that he was so scared every night. He begged me to have him transferred. I explained to him that I had no power in this regard, but I got my mom’s phone number, which he knew by heart. The operators explained to me that they were waiting for a place to be vacated in a Rems, the residences with a health vocation for the execution of psychiatric safety measures ». Ultimately: «The boy should not have been there, there was no title for his detention. I went out and called the mother. No one had told her where they had taken him. ‘

Outrage also from politics. The Turin councilor Gianna Pentenero, with responsibility for the Reports announces a visit to that department. He speaks of an “unacceptable situation, which has already been reported recently for which I ask the government authorities to intervene promptly”. And that this department was – even in the recent past – a harbinger of scandals and investigations is no mystery. In June, the trial will open in court against three prison officers accused of manslaughter for a suicide that took place at the Sestante. An inmate took his own life by strangling himself with his pajama pants. The agony lasted 12 minutes and none of those who should have checked him on sight got up to do their duty. – © REPRODUCTION RESERVED

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