Inmates harm themselves in Estonia and Hungary as well, Armenia's Minister of Justice Hrayr Tovmasyan said when asked to comment on a recent prison incident in which an inmate cut off his little finger in protest against prison conditions.
"People begin to think about freedom and do something for it," said the Minister.
Regarding the other inmate, who decided to sew his mouth shut as a sign of protest, Mr Tovmasyan said mouth sewing has become ordinary thing for them; they have holes in their lips.
"Sewn up eyes or mouth is as usual for prisoners as earrings for girls," he said adding that prisoners will always find reasons for their odd behavior.
For example, an inmate serving in Yerevan's Nubarashen jail does not want to be transferred to the Goris penitentiary as he knows that conditions will be worse for him there.
Speaking about Karen Taroyan, who sent his chopped little finger to an Armenian online media outlet, causing a stir in the media and online social networks, Hrayr Tovmasyan said Taroyan had some problems in his family.
"His wife had quarreled with his mother and Karen wanted to go home to resolve the dispute but he was not allowed to. What should a minister do, in your opinion? Should he try to intervene in family disputes?" said the minister.
To solve the problems in penitentiaries the Minister suggests optimizing penal institutions and spending more money on bettering prison conditions.