Antigua Government Move to Block Prisoner’s Access to Unauthorized Items

Despite the security in the Her Majesty’s Prison, recent activities reveal that prisoners now have more freedom than they should have. During a recent unannounced search, officials found more than 60 cell phones with prisoners, an indication that some prison officials could be involved in smuggling disallowed items into the prison.

“More than 60 cellphones were recently discovered in the cells occupied by prisoners during a surprise search and raid,” Prime Minister Brown said in a statement on Facebook.

To clarify issues, Cabinet invited the Prison’s Superintendent and five other Prison officials to address their challenges and suggest how the government should tackle them.

At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed that there was a need to prevent further occurrences, rather than focusing on how to punish erring prison officials.

“Although the Cabinet may make rules for discipline and training at the Prison, the Officials have repeated that prevention is superior to punishment. Screening of those entering the Prison compound, including Officers, should not be left to the Prison authorities,” the statement added.

To ensure a safer Prison and to prevent prisoners from having access to unauthorized items, the following recommendations were made to Cabinet.

Frequent Change of Officials

It was recommended that prison officials responsible for checking people entering and going out of the prison should be changed frequently. They added that the officials should also use metal detectors and other security items in discharging their duties.

The completion of the Prison’s Towers

Another proposal is the completion of the two towers that will be high enough to deter people from throwing the prohibited items over the prison walls.

Training and Deployment of more officials

Insufficient Prison officials could be another factor responsible for the movement of unauthorized items into the Prison. At the meeting, the officials recommended the training and deployment of 40 more officers as that will help meet the one officer to seven inmates ratio.

Finally, the officials recommended the provision of one additional vehicle and other safety equipment for the movement of prisoners and the immediate construction of an internal buffer fence at the eastern border of the Prison.