Journalist and prisoner rights advocate Peppi Azzopardi has written to Archbishop Charles Scicluna, appealing for Pope Francis to visit prisoners at Kordin in his upcoming trip to Malta, expected to take place at the end of the year.
In an open letter, Azzopardi noted that the Pope has regularly spoken out in favour of prisoners’ rights, stating that prisoners cannot be expected to repay their debts to society from within a cell and that it is easy and comfortable to oppress prisoners.
“When Pope Francis addresses high-ranking prison officials, he tells them to show compassion with the hurt and wounds of their prisoner brothers,” Azzopardi said. “He also said that, from experience, women do a better job running prisons.”
“The Pope has said that when he visits prisoners, he asks himself why it had to be them and not himself, and that he thanks the Lord that his wrongdoing isn’t as prominent as theirs.”
“I have no doubt that when he comes to Malta, Pope Francis will welcome this appeal and visit Kordin, inspired by Jesus’ words ‘I was in prison and you came to me’.”
Pope Francis has made it a point of visiting prisoners around the world during his pontificate, including in the United States, Italy, Bolivia, and Chile. Only yesterday, he sent 15,000 ice-creams to two prisons in Rome to help inmates cope with the blazing heat.
The situation at Kordin has come under the spotlight in recent months, particularly after two young inmates with drug addiction problems committed suicide and former prisoners publicly condemned the situation within its four walls.
Azzopardi has been one of prison director Alex Dalli’s fiercest critics, accusing him of instilling a culture of fear, rather than rehabilitation, at Kordin.
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