Security threats at His Majesty’s Prisons due to sick officers, insufficient staff
ACTING SUPERINTENDENT of Prisons (SOP), Dwayne Bailey
Front Page
August 4, 2023

Security threats at His Majesty’s Prisons due to sick officers, insufficient staff

Ill discipline and “persistent sick leave” of staff have been identified among a growing set of challenges facing the management of His Majesty’s Prisons. These maladies were identified by the acting Superintendent of Prisons (SOP), Dwayne Bailey, as he gave a report at the closure of the criminal assizes at High Court #1 on Monday, July 31.

These problems add to the mix of challenges involved in maintaining order among inmates, and sustaining the prison farm.

Bailey said that the attitude being displayed by officers and their frequent absences on sick leave is of serious concern to those in authority.

However, he attributed the ill-disciplined conduct in part to the hours of work of officers.

“The issue of persistent sick leave…lends to the lack of security inside of the prisons. The long, strenuous hours may be contributing to that because of our 10 and 12 hour shifts and general conditions for staff isn’t the best.”

Acting Superintendent Bailey told the court that the prison is not being adequately staffed to facilitate all the programmes offered, including those for rehabilitation of inmates, and this also poses a threat to the security of the prisons.

He added that the prison fence continues to pose a problem for those in authority; there has been a total of 10 breaches. Contraband items continue to be thrown over the walls of the prisons; and cell phones, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, alcohol, and scissors continue to be the main items that are smuggled into the prison.

The acting prison boss said for the year so far 213 cellphones had been seized.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Tammika Mckenzie noted that the number of cellular phones seized is worrying.

“Almost one per inmate, and I am positive that it is not each inmate that would have had a cellphone,” she pointed out.

“ That issue to me is quite concerning. It makes you wonder whether it’s accessibility to a phone call through the regular system of the prison is an issue, or it is that persons want to do what they want to do without supervision…”.

McKenzie added that inasmuch as the cellphones are intercepted, the question must be asked how many more are out there.

“It raises security concerns…”.

Lawyer, Grant Connell, also commenting also noted the inequality in the police force and how it may be frustrating for some of the officers.

“The crucial thing about the police is that we have some police who are present physically, but mentally they’re not really there; they are frustrated.

“…Imagine being in a force for 22 years and you are a Constable. Even in a supermarket, you start out as cashier and you reach floor supervisor…”.

Connell said that high ranking police officers should find themselves in court as much as they are present at crime scenes.

“We want to level the playing field, and to level the playing field we have to have an effective police force, we cannot have square pegs in round holes.”