Antigua: Prison staff disgusted over neglect

Antigua Observer:-It’s now three weeks since the roof of the prison kitchen caved in and nothing has been done.

This is the case despite a promise this week from the minister responsible for prisons, Steadroy Benjamin, who said it would be be fixed immediately.

Benjamin said he would have taken the matter to Cabinet on Wednesday.

Two prison officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the roof is on the verge of collapsing again.

Prison staff and inmates had propped up the roof with pieces of wood after it collapsed three weeks ago.

They were anticipating that the repairs would have been done by now, after the permanent secretary visited the Coronation Road facility over a week ago.

The lives of those who work in the kitchen, to include four prison officers and several inmates, are at risk should the roof collapse again with them in the area.

They’re forced to work in the area though because it is the only place to cook and store food.

The prison staff and inmates are said to be frustrated over the situation because it adds to the long list of neglected areas at the jail.

And they are angry because the response to issues at the prison has been lethargic when compared to how minster Benjamin rushed to fix problems at the St . John’s Police Station last week.

At the prison though, the project for the expansion of cells remains unfinished after it started two years ago. There’s unfinished construction of a kitchen and other areas due to lack of finances and contractors pulling out.

Up to Tuesday the jail was overcrowded sign 318 inmates, though it was built for 150 people. At times, some cells have up to eight prisoners in it at a time.

Prison staff reported that the section for maximum security which houses dangerous criminals, has long been out of space and they want this addressed soonest.

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