The prisons are being bombarded with contraband coming over the walls – Clarke
The prisons are being “bombarded” with contraband coming over the walls from members of the public and ex-convicts.
“At the prisons we are still being bombarded with contraband coming over the walls from some members of the public, especially ex-convicts,” Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (ASP) Julian Clarke told Justices Brian Cottle and Angelica Teelucksingh (Ag), last Wednesday, April 8.
The officer was providing additional information alongside the prison report prepared for the end of the High Court Assizes.
Clarke noted that as recent as Friday, April 3, at the Belle Isle prison facility, someone attempted to bring into the prison, a bag containing contraband, cellular phones, marijuana, cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, and other prohibited articles.
The prison officer seemed to be referring to Barry Antoine, who was arrested outside the compound of the Belle Isle Correctional Facility on Friday, April 3, and taken to the Serious Offences Court the following Monday. There he was charged with having in his possession Marijuana amounting to 459g in one bag, while another bag contained high leaf, five packs of bamboo wrapping, one yellow lighter and the name of a prisoner on a piece of paper.
Antoine had just come out of prison himself a couple weeks prior to this incident.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne considered a number of aggravating features of the case, including the “extremely” aggravating factor that Antoine had the name of an inmate in his bag. Browne sentenced him to four months imprisonment, which is unusual as she often imposes a fine in cases of possession of lesser amounts of cannabis.
However, contraband substances entering the prison through outside elements is also a problem at the other facility, Her Majesty’s Prison, located in Kingstown.
“Just yesterday (April 7), a young man was caught right in the back of the court yard attempting to throw a bag with prohibited articles into the prisons,” Clarke further informed.
“This is a provoking situation,” the senior officer commented.
“I can say with all certainty that the majority of all illegal articles that entered the prisons do come from members of the public,” Clarke also said, while defending the prison officers working at the prison.
“I can say my Lord that we have at the prisons a good cadre of hard working officers who are trying their best to fight against the stigma that is placed upon them,” the ASP noted.
The senior officer ended by assuring, “I am not naive to think that all officers are 100 per cent honest, but we are working on getting everybody on board to serve one purpose, which is to make the prison safe and secure.”