– say quality of meals has been progressively enhanced
The administration of the Georgetown Prisons says that it has progressively enhanced the quality of meals offered to its inmate population in addition to facilitating proper medical treatment for those on Death Row.
This is in response to an article titled “Death Row inmates lament delays in Prison appeals, slam prison authorities for inhumane treatment” carried by this newspaper on 2010-11-24. The prison authorities described this article as inaccurate and mischievous.
But the Death Row inmates are maintaining that their situation remains dire despite the utterances of the prison administration.
According to the prison authorities, the administration of the main penal institution considers the issue of proper meals as critical to the good order and discipline of the prisons, prisoners’ health and ensuring a humane regime.
The prison administration said that the condemned prisoners located at the Georgetown Prison have always been treated with special care considering their classification.
“Years ago, to avoid complaints of meals, a special cook and separate arrangements were made to prepare their meals apart from the prison general population. This is always done in a satisfactory manner, however some inmates complain because their preferences are not always met,” Officer-in-Charge of the Georgetown Prison, Trevor Small, wrote in his response.
However, some inmates told this newspaper that as recent as yesterday they were served food without meat, to add to their daily doses of dry bread and black tea.
“It’s as if they are victimising us for speaking out,” one inmate told Kaieteur News.
Last week, head of the Guyana Human Rights Association, Mike Mc Cormack, reasoned that the low level of food served in the prison may be a direct result of the overcrowded prison population.
He lashed out at judicial functionaries who appear to have a penchant for remanding accused persons at will.
According to the GHRA official, since the prison population may be two times what is budgeted for, it puts a strain on the administration of the Guyana Prison Service.
“In the United States of America, if the (prison) budget is not adequate, the (prison) authorities release prisoners and this gets the attention of those responsible. But this cannot happen in Guyana,” Mc Cormack stated.
“This situation is no fault of the prison authorities, they have no control over that situation,” he added.
In terms of medical attention, Small pointed to several clinics, (Tuberculosis, HIV/AID/ Dental) which are executed by external health specialists from the Ministry of Health to address chronic illnesses of inmates.
He said that prisoners are seen by institutional medical staff and referred to the hospital to deal with emergencies and they attend clinics on a scheduled basis. Special funds, he said, are made available to meet any urgent medical need of such prisoners if required.
“The administration believes that the complaints stemmed from the length of time they are on the Condemned Division awaiting their appeals, the constant searches and strict security measures placed on them,” the officer in charge noted, adding that the Prison Administration has no control over their matters in court.
He said that the Prison Administration will endeavour its best to ensure that all inmates are treated humanely and secured in keeping with the Laws of Guyana.
The GHRA head Mc Cormack had described the health situation in the Georgetown Prison as unacceptable and urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to take steps to rectify the matter, while also calling for the urgent beefing up of health personnel within the prison.
“Health should be given high priority,” the GHRA Head told this newspaper.
“If prisoners are maintained at a proper level, it will be less costly on the government,” added Mc Cormack, who also stressed that Guyana is a signatory to the United Nations minimum standard treatment of prisoners’ guideline.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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