French prison suicide rate higher than most in Eurozone

May 4, 2013 at 2:18 PM

PARIS, May 4 (UPI) -- The prison suicide rate in France is higher than in most Eurozone nations, activists who are calling for reforms said.

There were 15.5 suicides for every 10,000 French inmates in 2010 -- more than double the average of 6.7 per 10,000 inmates in Eurozone nations, Radio France Internationale said Saturday.

Babara Liaras of the international prison observatory in Paris said the French prison system doesn't take the proper approach to dealing with inmates suffering from depression.

A majority of prisoners who take their own lives do it shortly after being placed in custody, Liaras said. The French government launched a program in 2009 aimed at reducing prison suicides, RFI said.

Liaras pointed to overcrowding in prisons as a problem, with 113 prisoners for every 100 places. In the Eurozone, only Serbia has less space at 157 inmates per 100 places.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said the government is creating 5,600 more places in French prisons to alleviate that problem.

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