Prisons officers: MSP can’t take in more inmates
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Friday, March 15 2013
Government’s decision to close down Carrera Island Prison and transfer its 350 inmates to the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) is being viewed with a mixture of support and scepticism by the Prisons Officers Association (POA).
POA president Ceron Richards yesterday said while he understood the reasons to close Carrera Prison, he emphasised that a lot of work needs to be done before the inmates could be transferred to MSP.
“We understand the Government’s decision to close down the Island Prison. Not too long ago, the association itself made such suggestions based on the amount of problems which plagued that facility. However, I am hoping that they understand that before they move the prisoners to the MSP, there is a lot of work which needs to be done at that prison to accommodate the influx of new prisoners.”
He said MSP was not properly outfitted for its current prison population, as there were already several issues regarding security and the fact that the facility was short-staffed.
“The MSP cannot, in its present condition, accommodate any more prisoners than that which it already has. So therefore, while we support the decision to close Carrera Island Prison, we cannot get behind the move, if it will simply make an already bad situation worse. And promises are not enough, we will only settle for action. Recently the prisons administration moved remand prisoners from Golden Grove, under the promise that MSP would be upgraded. It was not, and the prisoners were brought there regardless,” he said.
“We know that the Government can build a prison centre rather quickly. They built an entire facility over the course of three months during the State of Emergency, one which is very respectable. So if they put their minds to it, we are sure they can upgrade facilities at the MSP,” Richards said.
Justice Minister Christlyn Moore, in announcing the closure of the island prison yesterday, said upgrades will take place at MSP to accommodate more inmates.