Report accuses Israeli prisons of abuse

July 27, 2008 at 12:15 PM

JERUSALEM, July 27 (UPI) -- Israeli prisons suffer from "massive crowdedness" and inmates endure systematic abuse from jailers, a government report has found.

The report from the Israeli Justice Ministry's Department of Public Advocacy also found unsanitary and degrading conditions were common in about one-third of the prisons studied and prisoners were often tied to their beds for long periods of time, the Israeli news Web site Ynetnews.com reported Sunday.

Singled out for criticism was the Ofek Juvenile Prison in the Sharon Plain region of central Israel. There, the young prisoners reported systematic abuse by the jailers, including one instance in which jailers allegedly sprayed the juveniles' cells with tear gas and beat them with clubs in response to misbehavior.

The report said there have been 21 suicide attempts and 19 cases of self-induced harm amongst the young prisoners at Ofek this year.

"There is a deterioration in the prisoners' living conditions due to the

massive crowdedness in the various facilities," Public Advocacy attorney Gil Shapira told Ynetnews.com.

"The report will be studied and everything possible will be done in order to deal with the shortcomings," the Israel Prison Service said in a statement.

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