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Geneva's green prisons chief 'needed coaching'

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Geneva's green prisons chief 'needed coaching'
Entrance to Geneva's Champ-Dollon prison. Photo: RTS
22:55 CEST+02:00
The woman in charge of Geneva's prisons from February 2012 until she resigned in December 2013 knew nothing about prisons and required training from two coaches at a cost of around 340,000 francs ($387,000), according to reports on Monday.

Sandra Favre de Oliveira received the expensive advice from two consultants, former directors of penitentiaries in the cantons of Neuchâtel and Fribourg, Geneva's security  department revealed in response to a longstanding request from the Geneva Association of Journalists (AGJ) and a journalist the association was backing.

The advice did not seem to generate tangible results.

Favre announced her resignation In October, to take effect by the end of 2013, after going on sick leave.

During her term in office, critics lashed her department for failing to deal with overcrowded prisons, planning failures, tensions with unionized employees and the alleged murder of a prison therapist by a convicted rapist.

Therapist Adeline Morel, 34, was killed on September 13th after accompanying inmate Fabrice Anthamatten without an escort for what was supposed to be a day of therapy at a horse riding centre in Bellevue, a municipality northeast of the city of Geneva.

At the time of Favre’s resignation a month later, the security department said the decision had nothing to do with the controversy over the therapist’s murder.

In her letter of resignation, Favre explained that she had under-estimated “the strong media exposure as well as the political environment” connected with the job, the Tribune de Genève newspaper reported earlier.

Favre served as interim head of the prisons department for eight months before being named to the post full-time by Geneva’s Security Minister Pierre Maudet.

Neither of the consultants worked full-time as coaches but one received more than 198,000 francs for services provided to the bureaucrat over 22 months, the cantonal security department said.

The other received a total of 138,000 francs, the department said.

The AGJ said the security department had previously refused to divulge this information, initially sought by a journalist in April 2013.

It was only after the association decided to appeal the case to Geneva’s court of justice in January that the information was made available.

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