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Minnis 'Well Aware' Of Concerns Over Prison

The Department of Correctional Services at Fox Hill.

The Department of Correctional Services at Fox Hill.

photo

Anthony Newbold

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration is well-aware of the mounting issues at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold has said.

Responding to questions on overpopulation at the facility and the lack of adequate funding, Mr Newbold yesterday told reporters that discussions are “ongoing” on ways to mitigate problems there.

“There is always work going on with the prison,” Mr Newbold said when asked what was the government’s position on claims made by BDCS acting Commissioner Charles Murphy on Monday.

Mr Newbold added: “… The prison is one of those institutions that requires or demands a lot of attention. And we know it has been overcrowded for years. So, whatever is happening over there, it is an ongoing situation where whatever funds can be provided are being provided. Discussions are on going as to how you mitigate the problems that are there.”

“But it is something like, you know somebody asked me about the Princess Margaret Hospital; I was talking about the air conditioning being repaired and I was asked, you know, are you repairing the air conditioning as opposed to paying attention to the doctors - no.

“It is one of many situations, one of many priorities, one of many serious situations that must be dealt with and the prison is like this. Now, those discussions continue,” he contended.

On Monday, Commissioner Murphy revealed that the department was using aspects of its new BAMSI-led agriculture initiative to “subsidise” portions of its budget due to overcrowding.

According to numbers he presented, the maximum-security section of the facility, built to house around 200 inmates, currently sleeps over 1,000.

Commissioner Murphy said the department’s population has ballooned to over 1,700 inmates overall.

When asked by The Tribune if the issues of overcrowding and lack of adequate funding were affecting the aspects of the facility’s operations, Commissioner Murphy would only say: “Yes, I would think so.”

Comments

John 9 months ago

The easiest way to reduce crowding at the prison is to reduce the number of people going there. Persons charged with murder especially since most of them are in their 20’s or younger and can be expected to spend some 50 years (based on a life expectancy of 75 in prison. This year (again in October) the murder count stands a good chance of being under 100, but as you know once the information gets published things go crazy and the killings skyrocket. Hopefully not this year. The initiatives by the Minnis administration to increase work programs in prison to allow inmates to improve their skills to get better opportunities at employment when they are released and to offer training to the young citizens of the Bahamas and also to give the police additional equipment will definitely reap benefits. Obviously someone in government is seeing that you cannot continue to throw young people and the future generations to the dogs (or dawgs for that matter. Hopefully by next year government will be able to reduce the $5 mill allocation to vehicles for the police by half and increase the prison program and the youth development program by the same amount. Not because they will be shortchanging the police, but not only will the police be taking better care of their vehicles but the investments in the youth programs will be paying dividends and there will be no need for additional vehicles,

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bogart 9 months ago

From observation..thanks to the dedication and care for the well being of all animals, the Animal Shelter, shelter would not place 17 dogs into a space or cage built for 2 dogs.

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TheMadHatter 9 months ago

...and the Christian Council has agreed to give how many hundred thousand dollars toward the well being of these children of God???

Zero???

I thought so.

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bogart 9 months ago

Until dis time when the story coming out and ways to mitigate the problem....Staff Personell smust be held accountable for the blatent excessive...overcrowding...and gross incompetamce charges....fullest punishments according to law...to those redponsible....for this inhuman degrading ...to .human dignity....treatment to Bahamians....!!!!...How in the world is it humanly possible ...my goodness...!!!......to make 1,700 inmates ...fir into quarters built for 200....impossible to fathom....incarceration conditions...in the 21st Century....all these things coming to light...Bahamians treated like this....Church people visiting for years....nothing done...situation still exists......officials from the last govt must be questioned and give account....!!!!!!!!!..what happemed to the billions of VAT at 7.5%....

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John 9 months ago

Yesterday marijuana became fully legal in Canada. And while this is in no way to suggest The bahamas follows suit, especially for recreational use, the time may have come where the Bahamas handles persons found with small amounts of marijuana for recreational use differently. Mixing them with the general prison population tends to create more problems and more negative results as persons with a drug use or abuse problem now have exposure to a crime element. What Canada proposes to do is to pardon all persons charges with minor offenses of marijuana possession, once they remain crime free and law abiding citizens for a period of five years. This will affect some 500,000 Canadians, including some who are presently in jail. And despite marijuana being made legal, there are still strict laws governing it and persons can still find themselves going to jail or being fined if they violate these laws. Some judges here have started sending persons found with small amounts to a drug rehab program, rather than sending them to jail.

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DDK 9 months ago

Very sensible bit of legislation! Well done Canada. Now can The Bahamas be sensible???

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John 9 months ago

So why has The tribune being operating a non-secure site for the past several months..hmm

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VDSheep 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Each member of parliament as a criterion – ought to spend at least 72 hours in Fox Hill prison ‘ as a rule!

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