“Intolerable”: Portugal’s prisons slammed for inhumane conditions

Left bloc firebrand Catarina Martins has called for dignity in Portuguese prisons, where she says conditions are “intolerable”.

Following a visit to Lisbon’s city jail, she said: “It is cold, there are draughts, anyone who made this visit can see this.

“We have ceilings that have fallen in, wings that cannot be used, areas that are completely destroyed… It is not possible to have people in these circumstances, whether they are prisoners, or people who have to work here”.

Demanding a study of what is needed to bring the country’s prisons up to scratch, Martins added: “We know that we won’t manage to do all the necessary works this year, but if we don’t start things will simply get worse every year”.

Martins was talking the day horrific photographs of the results of prison riots in Brazil were splashed across the media.

More than 60 inmates were killed in a kind of Medieval “orgy of brutality” that has become synonymous with the modern world.

Parallels with Portugal should not be drawn, but the problem of over-crowding – thought to have prompted the Brazil outbreak – is one that is particularly prevalent here as “lack of investment” in the prison service is one of the its greatest problems. Said Martins: “We have to know where there is overcrowding. There has to be investment in basic conditions of human rights in Portugal’s prison establishments”.

[email protected]