Last night’s eye-opening episode of TVM’s Xarabank gave the Maltese people an insight into what really goes on behind the walls of Corradino Correctional Facility – and one of the most shocking facts had to be the admission that there may very well be a rat infestation inside Malta’s largest prison.
Colonel Alex Dalli, the new prison director, appeared in his first public interview, and made it clear that “he could not exclude” the fact rats are becoming a serious problem in prison, even going so far as to say he saw some himself and frequently set up traps to catch them.
He made the admission in response to the father of a prisoner who was in the audience; the father recounted how his son had reported seeing rats while locked away in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, resulting in some type of infection in his son.
Pictured above: Colonel Alex Dalli opened up about prison practices and conditions in his first ever public interview
The prison director also noted that the prison itself was over 150 years old, and as such was not in the best state it could be in
When asked whether parts of the prison were condemned, with some toilets in the prison unable to flush, he admitted parts of the old building weren’t up to modern health and safety standards
Later in the show, a sister of an inmate who had died inside jail asked for closure on what happened to her brother in his final hours. Dalli said he could not elaborate due to an ongoing magisterial inquiry, but said he shared the sorrow of any persons who lost family members in prison.
When it came to the hot topic of drugs in prison, Xarabank presenter Peppi Azzopardi questioned some of the methods being used to clamp down on drugs making their way inside prison. Some of these methods include limiting visitation rights, the removal of conjugal visits between partners, and enforced solitary confinement.
In response, Dalli said he didn’t expect Peppi to understand the methods, but that he should know “the methods are bearing fruit”.
Dalli was widely praised by some ex-prisoners and current prisoners brought onto the programme for his crackdown on drugs in prison, with one prisoner saying that “up to 95% of all drugs” had been removed from prison since Dalli had taken over.
Cover photo: Xarabank
Inset cover: The Insiter