During a gathering outside the prison of Spini di Gardolo on 9th January 2022, we managed to communicate with some prisoners and here is what they told us about the current situation in the prison, which the director and the local authorities take great care not to make known.
A prisoner asked us to deliver to the prison guarantor (for the PAT, A. Menghini) his version of an episode which a prison union recently passed off in the media as “assault on the guards”. The prisoner maintained he was brutally beaten by the guards, who later also seized his crutches. After the beating he wasn’t adequately examined or taken to hospital.
A very young prisoner said he’s been in the jail for over two weeks without knowing when he can see a magistrate. That doesn’t surprise us because for years the prison of Spini has been brimming with people awaiting trial whose hearings are never set according to the terms established by the law, condemning prisoners to a limbo made of uncertainty and oppression: in fact this young man has been denied phone calls with his family, who know nothing about his condition, and he was subjected to punitive isolation without towels, underwear or other necessary items. Only after a hunger strike and the threat of self-harming did they give him these basic things.
Unfortunately, prisoners are frequently forced to this kind of protest harmful to their health and integrity: inflicting cuts on their throats and swallowing batteries seem to be the only ways to obtain basic things, as they told us. And the problems of the structure have been reproposing themselves the same or worse throughout the years: mail torn up and/or inappropriately censored by the screws, medical care reduced to distribution of paracetamol and psychotropic drugs, cells locked-up and no educational or recreational activity, constant vexation from the guards. A prisoner also shouted: “they want to vaccinate us!!!”, leading us to understand that they are forcing health treatments on them which are not compulsory, at least on paper.
One of the prisoners asked us to get into the prison with cameras in order to gather evidence on how distressing life is inside but we know very well that anyone who gets into Spini as well as any other Italian jails as a visitor will always and only see the more presentable face of these places. It is not surprising that the police hindered a solidarity gathering on new year’s eve keeping us away from the walls and preventing us from communicating with the prisoners. This time it was different and it is important that the information we managed to gather has an echo so that people know how oppressive and unbearable reality is in the prison of Spini di Gardolo, wrongly passed off as a “model structure”.
LET’S NOT LEAVE PRISONERS ALONE, LET’S CONTINUE TO KEEP CONTACT WITH THOSE WHO ARE LOCKED UP, LET’S MAKE OURSELVES HEARD OUTSIDE GIVEN THAT THEIR VOICES ARE CONSTANTLY BEING SILENCED!!!