The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Ticino prisons reach their limits

The prisons in Ticino are full. An emergency plan provides for seven additional places in Lugano and Mendrisio, after which the southern canton will have to switch to prisons in other cantons.

The situation has worsened in recent weeks, confirmed Stefano Laffranchini, director of the cantonal prisons, in a report by the "Corriere del Ticino" newspaper to the Keystone-SDA news agency. The situation in Ticino's prisons has already been difficult for a year.

For Laffranchini, the difficulties in the prisons are linked to the canton's peripheral location: Drug trafficking, cross-border theft and problems related to migration flows are "typical characteristics" of a transit and border canton. And these lead to full prisons.

Will transfers soon be necessary?

Laffranchini went on to explain that it is difficult to say whether the emergency plan will be used in the near future. If the additional cells are also soon occupied, Ticino would most likely have to rely on the help of the cantons of the penal concordat of Latin Switzerland.

The cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Jura belong to this concordat. However, Laffranchini noted that, in principle, all cantons are eligible for prisoner transfers.

Prison conditions in Ticino are also difficult for women. Last year, the Ticino government approved a loan for a women's section in La Stampa prison near Lugano. 11 places are to be created especially for female prisoners, including a cell for a mother and child. However, the unit will not be ready until the end of 2025 at the earliest.

©Keystone/SDA

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