The prison warders explain he’s a “lunatic” who has been locked up for years. No one knows his name or his history. He is naked and shackled to a prison floor in Juba central prison in South Sudan. There are many others like him in the cells. Some spit at anyone who comes in range, others stare vacantly at the walls.
The 20-year civil war, in which almost 2m people died, has left an epidemic of acute mental illness and no facilities or staff to help treat it.
The smell of neglect in the communal cell is overwhelming. The men have no plates but are served slops on the concrete where they urinate.
Conditions are no better in the women’s prison across the road. Some of the most disturbed women are shackled to parts of lorry engines that render them immobile, two women are chained to trees in the central courtyard. In solitary confinement are the most dangerous women. 24 hours a day they remain alone behind bars.
Many appear to be in prison because they are victims rather than perpetrators of crime: they have nowhere else to go.