The attack on an inmate with mental illness by three officials of the Villena prison, for which they have been filed, has brought to the fore the deplorable psychiatric care for prisoners in Spanish prisons and has revealed mafia behavior. The events date back to August 16, when an association called ‘Your abandonment can kill me’ denounced in a statement an alleged assault by an inmate with mental illness, who highlighted his Maghrebi origin, three officials whom he would have ground “with sticks, kicks and punches”.
Penitentiary Institutions opened an investigation and verified that the images captured by the video surveillance cameras showed three prison officials giving fifty blows during the reduction of the inmate. At the same time, a Villena court is keeping proceedings open for the incident of August 16 and for an attack on the deputy director of the prison on the eve of her statement for these events.
Despite the images, published by the newspaper Lift-EMV, the association describes the performance as “professional and within the law” in a video posted on Facebook in which it also denounces the informative treatment of the case and announces legal actions against the media that have reported.
The lawyer Raquel Sánchez Navarro, who also works as a lawyer for the Jupol union in Alicante, wrote on her Twitter account: “Now my job is not only to defend the attacks suffered by these Villena prison officials but also their honor and dignity “(He also added:” I hope to find the truth, although in this country where even the courts are corrupted, I expect anything “).
On the eve of the statement of the deputy director of security of the Villena prison in the framework of the internal investigation, the woman was the victim of an attack by gangsters at the door of her home. “Tomorrow, quiet,” they told him between five and six hooded men. The official had already received threatening messages on her mobile phone (which was later stolen from her inside the prison) but, far from being intimidated, she was punctual to the statement. The deputy director guarded, following official protocol, the images from the video surveillance cameras.
The subdelegate of the Government in Alicante, Araceli Poblador, assures that the State Security Forces and Bodies “have been trying to clarify the facts” and the identity of “the people involved” from minute one.
The episode has caused such a stir in the prison world that this Thursday almost all Spanish prisons called rallies to support the official. The secretary general of Penitentiary Institutions, Ángel Luis Ortiz, went to the Villena prison and praised the victim of the attack, a “professional with integrity” who “is very clear about what the actions of a public official should be,” he said.
The association ‘Your abandonment can kill me’, however, considers in its Facebook account that the “only objective” of the alleged criminalization of prison officials is “to prevent the mobilization of the workforce” in demand of a salary equalization for the one that there is a manifestation summoned the next September 22 in Madrid.
That group of workers described the Villena penitentiary center as “the most dangerous prison in Spain” in the statement issued on August 16, in which it blamed the center’s management for the “ineffective management” by “not knowing how to contain the violent outbreaks “.
Thus, ‘Your abandonment can kill me’ pointed out to the director of the prison, Feliciano Crelgo, “who is directly responsible for the violent drift” in the penitentiary. “We are in a real chaos, where the lives of the inmates are in danger, since we are not able to maintain order and discipline in the departments where the most conflictive reside”, said the association, which numbers in “about 400 of the approximately 1,200 “that the jail houses the number of these conflicting prisoners.
Unidentified Officials and Incomplete Parts
The Ombudsman, in a surprise visit by technicians from the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture prior to the attack this summer, detected that “practically no official” of the prison was correctly identified, as reported by elDiario.es.
In the Alicante II penitentiary, made up of 845 cells, “frequently the copy of the injury reports or other medico-legal documents issued is not included in the medical record” or the assistance provided, according to the Ombudsman.
The parties describe the injuries in “little detail” and, “frequently”, the sections corresponding to the time and place are not filled in, nor are the inmate’s statements regarding the origin of the damage suffered. The Villena prison also suffers from a lack of doctors, as the Government recognized in a parliamentary response to a Senator from Compromís.
Without psychiatrists, with 40% of prisoners with mental health problems
With 40% of prisoners with mental health problems, Valencian prisons do not have psychiatrists, according to a report prepared by the Observatory for Human Rights, Mental Health and Prison, coordinated by the director of the Àmbit association, the jurist Javier Vilalta. The investigation reviews the set of Valencian prisons with the exception of the psychiatric penitentiary center of Fontcalent (Alicante), the only one of this type in Spain together with that of Seville.
In the Antonio Asunción de Picassent penitentiary (Valencia) there are only six doctors for 2,058 prisoners. The report maintains that the Castellón II prison, the one with the most complaints of torture in all of Spain, should have 800 prisoners undergoing psychiatric treatment, although the prison “does not have any psychiatrists, so it is evident that there is no any kind of attention or follow-up “.
The Picassent prison and the Castellón I prison do not even have a module with the Comprehensive Care Program for the Mentally Ill (PAIEM) for people with serious disorders. Castellón I prison has not received a visit from a psychiatrist in three years. The Picassent prison receives a batch of between four and eight external visits per month, an “insufficient” figure for the thousand inmates receiving psychiatric treatment.
In Fontcalent (Alicante), “the care is very deficient since in addition to the fact that there are fewer and fewer professionals, the fact that it is a preventive center makes the inmates vary a lot, thus hindering relations with public health facilities and, however, in Villena psychiatric care is more stable since the inmates are permanent, “explains the report from the Observatory for Human Rights, Mental Health and Prison.
This precarious starting situation in the penitentiary system serves as a reason for associations such as the one that issued the statement in which an assault was attributed to an inmate that he actually suffered. Subsequent events, with a mafia tinge, have put the spotlight on other shadows that also hang over the prisons.