Prisoners who are not positive for COVID-19 were not placed in cells with COVID-19 positive inmates, informed prison sources told Lovin Malta.
The response comes after a series of claims from the partner of an inmate alleged that some prisoners were being unnecessarily exposed to the virus.
The woman, who shared the claims with Health Minister Chris Fearne on TVM’s show L-Erbgħa Fost Il-Ġimgħa, also said her partner had not showered in three weeks because he was afraid of catching the virus from the common showering area.
“This is an utter lie,” an informed source told Lovin Malta. “Prison regulations stipulate that every male prisoner must shave daily and shower according to season but, in any case, once a week.”
In regards exposing prisoners unnecessarily, they said: “We’ve had over 500 prisoners come into prison since lockdown was removed. All of these needed to spend time in quarantine. Many displayed no symptoms or were negative on entry but then became positive a few days later.
However, they admitted that “due to the population in prison there are not enough cells to isolate everyone” for longer periods.
The issue of overcrowding in Malta’s Corradino Correctional Facilities, which was built in 1842, has been a constant nuisance for prison authorities for years. Amidst the pandemic, the issue has only been made starker.
However, prison authorities insist they are doing all they can to contain the virus.
“Right now, there are only three active COVID-19 cases inside. All other prisoners who were positive have since healed.’