Prisoners party in Sintra jail while guards turn blind eye

As world attention has been focussed on European politics, prisoners in Sintra jail have been partying bigtime – getting legless on ‘home-made hooch’, dealing drugs and posting images of their fun and games on social media.

Photographs published by national tabloid Correio da Manhã show inmates posing with wads of what appear to be €500 notes in their hands, and rolling joints.

It goes without saying that all these activities are expressly forbidden in national prisons – but for reasons unclear no guards appear to have intervened.

CM explains the situation is not helped by the fact that there are currently 728 prisoners in the jail, in the charge of “just 115 guards”.

Shifts do not normally see more than 10 guards on duty at the same time, says the paper.

President of the guards’ syndicate Jorge Alves has told the paper that his members would welcome more rules to “combat this calamity”.

“We don’t agree that these prisoners carry out the same kind of life in the jails as they have outside,” he added.

But for now, the situation seems to persist.

Last year, guards were “beaten up” by drunken convicts in another establishment (click here), and since publishing its report on the “drugs and €500-note party”, CM has carried a further story about 12 inmates found sleeping in an outdoor pavilion with “alcohol in their blood”.

“Chicha” is made from fruit, and can be brewed simply with little requirement for specialist equipment, the paper explains – stressing guards now are well and truly fed up with the status quo.

Alves concedes that “it is getting to the point to justify action by the prison services intervention unit (GIPS)”.

He said guards also blame Sintra’s head-of-command for taking power away from deputies in the service. To add to the problems, prison guards are due to go on strike between July 4-10 over the extra hours they are still required to work, over-and-above the new 35-hour week.

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