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Nottage Targets Gangs In Prison Reforms

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Dr Bernard Nottage

NO EFFORT should be spared in eradicating organised gangs from the penal system, Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage said.

Dr Nottage also challenged regional officials to develop new ways - including incentives - to expose then stamp out corruption among prison officials.

"Given the poisonous, insidious impact of gangs within our penal system, no effort should be spared to eradicate them by all lawful means possible," Dr Nottage said.

"Not only do gangs spur violence, they are often central to 'hits' being ordered on law abiding witnesses and ordinary citizens."

Addressing the joint opening session of the Association of Caribbean Heads of Conference and Prison Services and the Caribbean Association of Corrections Conferences, Dr Nottage said the presence of organised gangs in the Bahamas' penal system "is a relatively new phenomenon".

Prison and correction officials from 14 Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas, are participating in the twin conferences.

The minister said the emergence of organised gangs and the importation of contraband such as illicit drugs and cell phones are negatively impacting prison populations and administrations worldwide.

"These twin evils continue to wreak havoc on prison administrations because of the polluting and contaminating influence on institutional law and order and public safety generally," Dr Nottage said.

"The incorporation of various technical devices to stem the stream of contraband smuggling has led to varying degrees of success. I am advised that this is largely so because most of our penal institutions are saddled with a relatively small band of highly organised rogue officers who use trafficking as a part-time occupation.

"One may ask, 'How is it possible for a few bad apples to spoil the barrel?' The easy explanation takes us back to the age-old adage that evil men triumph, when good men do nothing," he said.

Dr Nottage suggested that, going forward, regional penal institutions should no longer just try to identify those officers who are corrupt, but also find ways to provide incentives to those who are upright and honest.

"What I am suggesting is that in order to reduce the scourge of contraband common to all of our institutions, we must no longer simply try to identify those who are corrupt. We must find ways to (provide incentives) for officers who are otherwise law-abiding, but indifferent and silent in the face of wrongdoing.

"You must find new ways not just to resist and expose complicity and corruption in corrections. Indeed it is your duty to expose it," Dr Nottage said. "I note from the programme that one of your sessions will examine the role of gangs within prisons. It is my hope that as a result of your deliberations, you may help to formulate new ideas and policies on how we may best deal with this vexing problem."

Comments

JohnBrown 7 years, 11 months ago

"New ways not just to resist and expose complicity and corruption in corrections."

"I am suggesting is that in order to reduce the scourge of contraband common to all of our institutions, we must no longer simply try to identify those who are corrupt. We must find ways to (provide incentives) for officers who are otherwise law-abiding, but indifferent and silent in the face of wrongdoing."

So if I understand you correctly, your first major suggestion is to give incentives to those officers who support the trafficking of contraband in prison...salary increases, new homes, overtime outside security jobs and unlimited leadership opportunities such as been made deacons in a church alongside with the wherewithal to become a gutless slime ball politician like yourself, right? This is shameless and worthless advice.

The first order of the day - after winning an election and being sworn in, but prior to beginning ones first day of arm-chaired service, each and every politician should be legally subjected to a mandatory three day sentenced stay in Fox Hill Prison's minimum security area. They will be housed with a real life convicted criminals and receive equal treatment - no better no worst that any other prisoner while having to survive this test unaided. Twice each day, while in prisoner cloths, ingesting prisoner food, and defending against the sexual advances of their cellmate or prison officers, such politicians shall be made to go on a tour of maximum security and view their possible fate if they neglect their honest hard working citizens in exchange for money, while dispensing platitudes.

For there is nothing new under the sun, kind sir. Its just seems as though you have finally awaken to what is and your mouth took off with a flood of empty words "resist and expose complicity" before your brain was engaged. Do better than just make bland comments, provide definitive permanent solutions or else simply keep your mouth shut and keep smiling.

Use you political time and clout wisely with the Agricultural Chain Gang ACG, the Fishing industry fleet and fish hatcheries to benefit masses of Bahamians on all levels, for this too shall pass.

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