di Marcello Mento
(see related story) (ANSA) - Rome, October 8 - There have been 2,056 inmate deaths in Italian prisons since the beginning of 2000, 736 of which were suicides, a report published Monday by inmates' rights group Restricted Horizons (Ristretti Orizzonti) said. The average age of prisoners who die behind bars dropped to 38 years old from 44 years old in 2002 and 35% of deaths are foreign inmates. The dossier entitled 'Death in Jail' also reported that "over the last 10 years, more than 30 cases of suspicious deaths in prison were registered". Overcrowding is believed to be more than partly responsible for the high number of suicides in Italian prisons compared to those in most other developed countries. The country's jails are still bursting nine months after the government's so-called 'Save Prisons' package aimed at ending overcrowding that has contributed to the rising suicide rate, inmates' rights group Antigone said recently.