Cyprus' prisons' acting chief leaves post as spate of inmate suicides sparks concern

The chief of Cyprus' central prison complex has resigned following a spate of inmate suicides that has refocused attention on conditions inside the country's lone correctional facility.

Senior police officer George Tryphonides told The Associated Press that Tuesday will be his last day after five years as acting prisons director.

Five inmates have committed suicide since July. But three were since Dec. 28, with the latest early Tuesday.

The justice minister announced Monday a string of measures, including guard suspensions, elite police unit patrols inside the facility and setting up a wing for inmates diagnosed with psychological problems.

Tryphonides defended his record, saying he has helped reduce the chronically overcrowded facility's population from 720 inmates a year ago — some 270 above capacity — to 560 now.