3 Mar 2004

New Caledonian union criticises prison conditions

11:18 am on 3 March 2004

The USTKE union in New Caledonia has criticised the conditions and management of the Noumea prison.

A union leader says 320 inmates are being held in a facility built to house only 180, with cases of 5 prisoners sharing a nine square meter cell in searing summer heat.

He says minors are being held with other inmates in a complex built more than a century ago.

The union also says 90 percent of inmates are Kanaks but the jail is run from Paris while few of the wardens are drawn from the indigenous population.

A new jail is to be built in New Caledonia but its site and its funding are yet to be decided.