Australian inmate hangs himself in French jail
An Australian jailed in Paris last month for drug trafficking has hanged himself in his cell, the latest in a spate of suicides in France's crowded prisonsParis - An Australian jailed in Paris last month for drug trafficking has hanged himself in his cell, the latest in a spate of suicides in France's crowded prisons, authorities said Friday.
The man, whose name was not revealed, was found dead Thursday morning in his cell in Villepinte prison northeast of Paris, the French prison authority said, adding that an investigation had been opened.
According to the Parisien newspaper, the victim was 43-year-old father of two, who normally lives in Canada and who was sentenced to 10 months in jail in July for smuggling drugs into France.
Prison officials told the paper he was a model inmate who had settled in well and reguarly used the library, and had therefore not been marked as a suicide risk.
The French government this week announced a series of measures to stem a sharp rise in suicides in its prisons, including the use of rip-proof bedding and single issue pyjamas to stop inmates hanging themselves.
Since the start of the year, 81 prisoners have killed themselves in French jails, which are designed for a maximum of 51,000 inmates but currently house more than 62,000, according to official figures.
Rights groups say the true figure is even higher, at more than 90, a discrepancy explained by cases of drug overdoses that are not systematically classed as suicides by French authorities.
France's prisons have repeatedly been slammed as overcrowded and dilapidated by the Council of Europe rights watchdog.
Jail suicides have been on the rise in France since 2007, when 96 inmates took their lives, a figure that shot up to 115 last year.