– specially fabricated steel cells for G/T Prisons to ease congestion at Lusignan
The possible location of a new prison and the acquisition of several steel cells were among several issues that were discussed yesterday when Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan convened a special team to discuss the nation’s prison security crisis.
The meeting was convened in the wake of last Monday’s escape of three prisoners from the Lusignan Prison and subsequent unrest in which inmates set fire to mattresses and damaged sections of the facility .
The Public Security Minister said that Commissioner of Police Leslie James and Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels were among those who attended.
Issues discussed included the “double supervision” of on-duty ranks during the night; and the cost to replace “very expensive” lights and other items, including mattresses that the inmates had destroyed at the Lusignan facility.
Ramjattan said that the team also discussed the concerns that the inmates claimed had triggered the protest.
“We discussed how we will get funding for the mattresses and to repair the walls in the holding bay (that they destroyed,)”
STEEL CELLS, NEW PRISON
High on the team’s agenda was the possible location of a prison.
Pressed for related information on this, Ramjattan would only say that the facility would have to be located “somewhere in Demerara,” and not in too distant a location from the Magistrates’ Courts.
But he conceded that Government faces a daunting task in finding the funds to build this prison and to properly house all the nation’s inmates.
“Right now we have a bad situation to deal with,” he said, adding that “the treasury does not have the money…we will possibly have to borrow it”.
He also explained that the new prison that is being built at Mazaruni, at a cost of some $3B, will only hold about 400 inmates.
That facility is expected to be completed by 2020. He said that the existing structure at Mazaruni houses approximately 100 inmates.
In the meantime, some of the congestion at Lusignan will be reduced in about five months, when Government acquires several “properly ventilated” steel cells that have been fabricated by a Florida firm.
These will be located at the Georgetown Prisons, and will house some 180 inmates who will be transferred from Lusignan.
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