Prison Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Pennyfeather has told State Media ABS that a raid was conducted at His Majesty’s Prison on Saturday morning where drugs including marijuana and what looked like crack cocaine, along with cellphones and other contraband were found
He said police conducted the raid because they received information that some of the criminal elements causing trouble in recent days were acting on directives from prisoners within the walls of the country’s lone penitentiary.
A few names were also presented to the prison official and the operation planned for the necessary searches to be conducted. The search was conducted by a joint team comprising of Police, Defense Force, and Prison Officers.
“At around 3:30 am the plan went into action and the searches were done in 10 prison cells and two general quarters areas a number of paraphernalia inclusive of cellular phones makeshift weapons, sharp instruments, and narcotics were found and confiscated and the individuals connected to those items were identified,” the prison boss.
Pennyfeather said findings of the raid revealed, more than ever, that work needs to be done to tighten up security at the prisons, which he said would not be achieved overnight
He said criminal charges will likely be filed against these individuals.
“It’s an ongoing process, it’s never moving as fast as you like. Once you are dealing with human beings, it will take time,” he said.
He added that once the necessary infrastructure is in place, along with electronic and physical security measures then the problems will be significantly reduced.
The security measures to be implemented include the installation of an eastern fence external to the existing fence and the issue of entrance and exit from the facility.
Another issue, he said, is the personal integrity of the staff.
Meanwhile, the prison boss also spoke about the utilization of cellular phone jammers to essentially blocked inmates from using phones that are smuggled into the prison.
Colonel Pennyfeather said the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is in the process of installing landline phones in the prison for internal communication.
Once this is done and the infrastructure is there to support the phones then they will proceed to the Jammers.