Rioting inmates fight prison conditions

A group of disgruntled prisoners rioted against conditions in a Spanish jail recently in an incident which saw prison guards punched, kicked and even bitten.

Rioting inmates fight prison conditions
Prisoners who rioted at the jail want to be transferred to other facilities, according to prison guard's union ACAIP. File photo: my_scarborough/Flickr

The chaos at Castellón II prison in Spain's Valencia province kicked off after one prisoner attacked his cell mate for not handing him tobacco.

When prison guards arrived on the scene to try and calm the irate man, he punched and kicked them, Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported on Thursday.

The inmate then "fled down the stairs into the dining area of the prison, took apart a rubbish container, and brandished the wheel axis as a weapon", according to a spokesperson for the prison guards union  ACAIP.

The prisoner then tried to entice his breakfasting fellow prisoners to join him in his protest.

When guards attempted to remove the man, several inmates attacked them.

Meanwhile, a separate group of prisoners cornered another member of staff and demanded the release of the prisoner who had started the trouble.

ACAIP said these inmates had nothing to do with the first prisoner but that "all of them had the clear aim of being moved to another prison".

They said this was probably why the men had defended the instigator of the trouble.

The scuffle continued when the inmates involved to the solitary confinement wing, with prisoners attacking the guards.

One guard was even bitten,  the spokesperson for the prison guards union said.

After the incident, ACAIP slammed conditions at the prison, saying prisoners "got away with" such behaviour and attacks on prison guards were more and more frequent.

The union said many of the prisoners at the Castellón II prison were difficult cases, adding that the facility filled up in summer and this caused the number of incidents to skyrocket.  

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Spain halts electric shock experiment on violent inmates to curb aggression

Spanish authorities have called off phase two of a scientific experiment to see if electric shocks administered to the brains of violent prisoners could curb aggression.

Spain halts electric shock experiment on violent inmates to curb aggression
Photo: lufimorgan/Depositphotos

The pilot study was carried out at Huelva Prison in southwestern Spain and saw the technique – known as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS – carried out on 41 violent prisoners, 15 of them serving murder sentences.

Spain’s interior ministry announced that the experiment had been called off the day after preliminary details of the study, which tested the impact of small electrical currents passed into the prefrontal cortex of volunteer male prisoners, were published in the New Scientist.

The trial, which had the approval of prison officials and university ethics committee wanted to determine whether TDCS deliver to the frontal lobe in three 15-minute sessions had an effect on levels of aggression reported by the male inmates.

Phase two of the study was due to commence this month.

But an interior ministry spokesman explained that permission for the experiments had been given by the previous government and would now be suspended as a precaution pending a full investigation into the matter.

The treatment, which is supposed to be painless, involves strapping electrodes to the inmates head and turning on an electric current for 15 minutes per day over the course of three days.

The prisoners are required to fill out questionnaires before and after treatment rating their feelings of anger.

Samples of each participant's saliva are also tested for cortisol levels – a hormone that increases with stress and can indicate aggressive tendencies.