The Acting Director of Corrections, Leonard Terrance, has invited members of the public who believe that Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) is like a 5 star hotel, to come and receive some 5 star treatment.
“If somebody believes that this is a 5 star hotel, I would like to tell them to make a reservation and be given the 5 star treatment,” he declared.
Terrance told St Lucia Times it was interesting that some believe BCF is like a 5 star hotel where inmates enjoy life at the expense of taxpayers and leave fat and fresher than when they went in.
He observed that such a perception is in stark contract to some years ago when persons were saying that the then Her Majesty’s prison on Bridge Street, Castries, was like a dungeon.
Terrence recalled that persons were concerned then about the conditions under which inmates were being held and the treatment that was meted out to them.
“It was almost animalistic in nature – that was their view,” he told St Lucia Times.
“I believe it was because of the public pressure on the government of the day that a new facility was built,” Terrance stated.
He expressed the view that it was of interest that the conversation has shifted from inmates being treated like animals to individuals being treated like humans.
“Any day I would prefer to treat someone like a human than an animal,” the BCF official stated.
Terrance told St Lucia Times that because people are in prison it does not mean that their dignity and human rights are taken away and they should be treated as being less than human beings.
“If during that period they can gain some weight, then let it be. Maybe we should now look at avenues where we can employ sports officers to help with a physical education programme at the facility,” he asserted.
According to Terrance, prison is not a 5 star hotel as some people seem to think.
He expressed the view that the fact that some have that perception may be an indication that BCF is doing something good which should augur well for this country.
“We treat people like humans. We do what we have to do, observing human rights and that cannot be something bad.”
“We are trying out best under the conditions that we have to engage persons who come here in meaningful activities. At the same time we are providing a high level of security to ensure the public safety,” the BCF official disclosed.
“Persons may not understand unless it reaches home or unless it is a member of their family. Some persons think they my never have a member of their family there. I say ‘Good for them’. But anybody who has a member of their family incarcerated would want the best for them,” he told St Lucia Times.
Terrance said correctional officers also want the best for the inmates.
“That cannot be something bad. That is something we should all try to rally around and help persons so that they themselves can change their lives,” the BCF official noted.