AFTER a review, the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services has refuted allegations from inmates of “desperate” conditions with inadequate protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent statement, BDCS Commissioner Charles Murphy said after a review of the claims made a week ago, the prison is stocked with sufficient supplies during the lockdown period, with no shortage or rationing of meals for inmates.
He added there was “no truth” to the claims, which were outlined in a letter sent to The Tribune recently. “Inmates are fed three meals per day and there is no cutback on inmates’ meals during any serving, and inmates are receiving their daily exercise,” Commissioner Murphy noted. “We have also confirmed that supplies continue to be issued every week or when requested.”
Included in these supplies given to each inmate in the male and female facilities are bleach, disinfectant, washing powder, hand towels, garbage bags, soap, toothpaste and toilet tissue, the statement noted.
Commissioner Murphy said the department also made it a priority to conduct regular checks and searches for illegal items and contrabands. Whenever these items are found, he said the culprits are dealt with by the law, as is standard.
Given early proactive measures to avoid any cases of COVID-19 within the facility, the commissioner said there were still no reported cases of infection.
The statement said the prison is still adhering to the following protocols: all activities with the public were suspended; all officers and staff were screened and are being screened; hand washing stations were installed in strategic areas in the facility; all inmates coming in for the first time are screened by medical personnel and placed in quarantine for 14 days after which they are examined again by the medical personnel before they are placed in general population; masks, hand sanitizers, face shields and gloves are issued to the staff on every shift; and inmates are issued hand sanitizers and masks.
The statement added that reusable masks are being made within the department and the majority of staff and the inmate population have received a pair of masks; deep cleaning was carried out in the facility and the number of inmates in work gangs have been reduced to practice social distancing.
“Officers are also advised to practice social distancing wherever possible, and the washing of their hands,” the statement said.