From the Courts
August 28, 2012
Inmates complain to magistrate about alleged violation of rights at Prisons

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young has said that she intends to look into allegations that the rights of persons on remand at Her Majesty’s Prisons in Kingstown are being violated.{{more}}

During the morning session at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown yesterday, one inmate, who was further remanded to August 31, lamented that he was being unfairly treated at the prisons, by both prison officials and fellow inmates.

“Remands ain’t being treated properly,” the man complained.

“They beating you, threatening to stab you, all kinda thing; and I ain’t do nothing.”

When asked by Young to explain himself further, the man said that while sentenced inmates are allowed to be in the yard for hours, remanded prisoners only spend one hour out of confinement.

He said that he also feared for his life, because he had been threatened by an inmate who said he would stab him with a piece of steel.

The man alleged that he fares no better with the officers.

“Imagine I cuss a little bad word, and I turn around and see ah officer and beg fo’ excuse, and they take me and give me little strokes and box me up all thing.”

The man was asked by Young if he had reported the mistreatment to the prison authorities, to which he replied he hadn’t; but he wanted to express his feelings to the court.

Another remand inmate then rose and expressed similar sentiments to the magistrate.

The man, speaking with a foreign accent, showed the magistrate scars about his body, which he alleged were inflicted by another inmate, with a sharp piece of stick, while he was asleep.

The remanded inmate told the magistrate that the incident was reported to prison officials, but he had not received medical treatment for the injuries.

The Chief Magistrate sought the advice of Prosecutor Inspector Adolphus Delpesche as to the length of time inmates are allowed in the yard. Delpesche said that he was not certain of the time restrictions of remanded prisoners.

SEARCHLIGHT attempted to speak to Assistant Superintendent of Prisons Williams about the matter, but Williams was not on the compound at the time.

Meanwhile, Williams, who had spoken to SEARCHLIGHT earlier, refuted allegations that an inmate had died while in custody.

The senior officer said that ‘nothing like that’ had happened, and likened the rumours to those about convicted murderer Daniel ‘Compay’ Trimmingham having escaped custody earlier this year.

He attributed the spread of rumours to the use of the Blackberry smart phone.

The prison, at White Chapel Road, Kingstown, is home to approximately 163 prisoners, made up of men who are on remand, sentenced prisoners who are considered high-risk and those on death row.

In April this year, over 240 sentenced prisoners were transferred to the brand new EC$18.7 million Correctional Facility at Belle Isle on the Leeward side of the island.