The Department of Correctional Services at Fox Hill. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
OFFICIALS at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services are hoping to implement in-house reusable cloth mask production as a part of the prison’s strategy to safeguard officers and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the compound.
The plan, according to Hervie Culmer, president of the Correctional Officers Staff Association, is one of a few “heightened” measures to ensure there is no outbreak at the facility.
Other measures include thermal screening at the first point of entry, increased cleanings and the distribution of disposable masks and gloves to staff.
Hand sanitisers, he said, have also been distributed to both officers and inmates.
He said: “I have to commend the officers of the department who are doing a tremendous job despite being overlooked. The officers continue to show up and put out the best quality of work.
“Efforts at the department have been heightened as it relates to cleaning. You would have been informed that the entire department is shut down from the public so in an effort to battle this global pandemic we’re doing what we can.
“The commissioner and I actually would have spoken and we are partnering to see how best we can outfit every staff member with a reusable washable mask.
“…We are trying to see how fast we can get those manufactured in house.”
Officials realise that guarding the compound against the potentially deadly virus comes down to more than prohibiting visits, the association president said.
“At our first point of entry, we have medical staff deployed there and that is the first thing that happens when you enter the compound (there is) the temperature check.”
He added that to his knowledge there hadn’t been any anomalies when staff reported for work.
About a month ago, prisoner visitations were suspended.
“All public activities are suspended until further notice. We are taking the same precautions inside as others are outside and we are executing the same protocols,” Corrections Commissioner Charles Murphy told The Tribune at the time.