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Guards revolt over Geneva jail conditions

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Guards revolt over Geneva jail conditions
Photo: RTS
23:18 CEST+02:00
Both guards and inmates are venting their anger over conditions at Geneva's overcrowded Champ-Dollon prison.

On Monday, 170 prison guards, including several dozen who walked off the job, protested against the high number of detainees in the penitentiary and the impact it is having on job conditions.

The employees demonstrated outside a prison building in front of a representation of a giant padlock with the words “full” written in French.

“The working conditions are intolerable,” Christian Antonietti, chairman of the union of prison guards told the gathering, the Tribune de Genève reported.

Around 800 inmates are being held in the facility, which has an official capacity of 376.

“We can no longer ask staff to continually submit to more incivilities, threats, spitting, fighting due to the overpopulation,” Antonietti said.

“It’s time to say, ‘stop.’”

The guards are seeking an extra 30 employees to help deal with the large number of prisoners.

There are only three guards to look after 100 inmates when they eat meals together, Antonietti said.

Meanwhile, 20 Minutes reported that inmates staged a protest of their own shortly after the guards.

Inmates were apparently upset because meals were served late as a result of the guards walkout..

After lunch, 53 inmates refused to return to their cells, 20 Minutes said.

Following discussions with prison staff, 41 of the detainees relented and went back to their cells.

But 12 refused to go willingly, forcing prison officials to contact cantonal police.

Police were able to place the mutineers behind bars at around 3.10pm without injuries, according to the 20 Minutes report.

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