EDITOR, The Tribune.
(Mr Falcon Clarke, an officer of the Department of Corrections, says he sent the following letter “first to the Commissioner then to Minister Marvin Dames. Nothing has been done therefore I am now sending it to the news media”).
I am an officer at The Bahamas Department of Corrections and have been on the job a little over a year now. I am writing because I and other officers are very concerned about some of the things we see taking place but do not believe that the leadership here will make any changes. I will briefly outline the main points of concern.
1) Drugs on the compound. Sir, we have had many instances in which inmates were found with contraband and strongly punished, while at the same time others were found with very serious items and only given a slap on the wrist. For example, in Medium Security L-Dorm last year pounds of marijuana was found and while a single inmate took the fall and was sent to Maximum Security, the majority of officers and all the inmates know that the operation in the dorm was run by former gang leader (name withheld). What is more surprising is that this dorm is again a hot spot for drug sales and distribution, but it has not been searched in over a year. (The same name withheld) is said to have some senior officers on his pay roll who, it is claimed, give the dorm a free pass. I dorm is another hotspot for drugs, but our superiors seem to not want to have it searched.
2) Early Release programme. Sir, I do agree that people can change and deserve a second chance however there are several inmates convicted of some of the most horrific crimes in our nation’s history who have not been properly vetted and are now about to be released. I was there on one occasion a few months ago in which a large number of lifetime inmates were sent to see the psychiatrist for a report. I was extremely disturbed to listen to these men brag about how this was the first time they saw any psych doctor in over a decade (for some never before) and that the doctor gave them a free pass after only a few minutes of evaluation. I can attest to many of these men bragging about how they will kill again. A few like (three names withheld) seem almost bipolar to us officers – are they trying to mask their true emotions which sometimes slip out. I ask that more be done before these men return to society and, God forbid, kill again.
3) Sir, several inmates have advised officers that many of the letters written in the newspapers by former inmates are in fact being written by an inmate (name withheld as is the name of the office in which he allegedly writes the letters). Mr X writes documents on the computer for the Chief however he also has unrestricted access to the internet and numerous officers have seen him on Facebook, email, shopping sites, etc. Other inmates who also work in the this office complain that Mr X is running his personal business from the internet on the laptop. Mr (Y) is also seen entering the this office and using the internet on the laptop behind locked doors and unsupervised for hours on the weekend along with Mr Z. This is a huge breach of security that is being ignored.
4) Medium Security kitchen. Sir, for the year that I have been stationed in MSU I have personally witnessed thousands of dollars of food that should be prepared for the general population instead separated, specially prepared and sold for phone minutes and weed. One Sunday I personally witnessed 30 plates of specially prepared BBQ chicken, peas ‘n rice, coleslaw sold to inmates for minutes more than an hour before the food cooked for everyone else was ready and served. This food that is in fact being stolen and sold could have been kept in the general rations so that portions being served could be larger.
I am bringing these issues to your attention as they are in our opinion very serious and need to be addressed.
July 6, 2021.