When the Prison Visiting Committee meets on Thursday, the issue concerning the spiritual life of prisoners will be top on the agenda, says Chairman of the committee Charlesworth Browne
The lack of a chapel at His Majesty’s Prison was among some of the issues raised when prison officers protested on Monday.
Browne told antigua.news that while there are mixed feelings about the nature of the protest by the prison officers, the availability of a chapel cannot wait.
“The prison board meets on Thursday and that matter will be one of those matters for which we will do all in our power to have in place within one week. Chapel space must be restored within the prison within one week,” he told our newsroom.
He said while the concerns of the protesting workers were many, “one thing that rings out that cannot be in no way trivialized is the mention of the absence of a chapel in the prison,”.
Browne recalled, that when it became necessary to demolish the former chapel in the interest of renovation and better living conditions for the inmates, although painful, “I had every reason to believe that in short order provisions would be made for the same again,”.
Browne agrees that some of the dictates of the Covid pandemic mitigated the reconstruction of the chapel, “however I am personally keen on having chapel space in the prison post haste. It is something that I have been working on and now that it is in the public,”
Furthermore, he said having a place that caters to the spiritual needs of the prisoners is positive in so many ways, including psychological and emotional benefits.
“Inmates can also use their participation in religious activities and education to positively change their behaviors,” he added
Prison officers took what many have called a bold decision on Monday, braving the heat and raising placards in protest for outstanding pay, overtime, risk allowances, better working conditions, and more manpower.