US Officials Raise Concerns Over Prison's Failure to Meet Standards

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April 25, 2013

Her Majesty’s Prison continues to fail to meet international standards, with overcrowding and access to adequate medical care presenting major problems in the men’s maximum-security block, a newly released 2012 human rights report from the US State Department points out. In August last year, authorities reported that the daily population of the prison and the remand centre exceeded 1,600, compared with 1,300 in October 2011.

Minister of National Security Bernard Nottage characterised the extent of overcrowding at the prison as “unacceptable”, attributing the overcrowding to the large number of petty criminals incarcerated and the backlog in processing at the remand centre. To address overcrowding in the remand centre, which stemmed from processing backlogs within the judicial system, authorities held detainees awaiting trial in the maximum-security block.

In June, the prison superintendent reported the maximum-security wing of the prison held nearly 900 inmates, which was twice the number of inmates it was built to house when constructed by British colonial authorities in 1953. Non-Bahamian citizens, deemed to pose an escape risk, were generally held in remand in the maximum-security block. Authorities estimated that 46 per cent of those held in maximum security were awaiting trial.

In June, authorities reported that as many as six inmates were confined to cells intended for one or two prisoners.

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News date : 04/25/2013    Category : Public Works/Infrastructure, Tribune Stories

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