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Prison environment: more than 50% of detainees suffering from psychological distress 30/07/2012 | 10:52:32

In 2010, a study on the mental health of prison inmates showed that more than 50% of them suffer from psychological distress, caused mostly by the degradation of the detention environment. This degradation is mostly caused by severe overcrowding, almost 18 800 detainees for 10 199 available places. In addition to that is the weakness of prison infrastructure and the penitentiary administration’s budget shortfall due the enduring economic crisis.

Indeed, due to the crisis, conditions in detention centers around the country have worsened in recent years. A survey conducted on April 4, 2010, on 625 prison inmates from the prisons of Antananarivo and Vatomandry showed that 41. 4% of detainees deplored the harsh and life-threatening conditions of these detention centers, and 51. 4% suffered from emotional disturbance and psychological distress. The survey highlighted that symptoms of psychological distress are more conspicuous in prison detainees, especially before the imprisonment and during the first 30 days in prison. The symptoms include 80% of deep sadness, 50% of discouragement, more than 40% of tiredness, 40% of despair and 35% of sleeplessness. In sum, more than 50% of prison inmates are hit by psychological distress.


 

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