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Son offered no medical assistance after being beaten by prison guard – mother

Son offered no medical assistance after being beaten by prison guard – mother


A mother, who turned up at the SEARCHLIGHT’s office in tears last Wednesday, July 13, is calling on prison authorities to look into an alleged beating, which she says was meted out to her son, Keon ‘My Youth’ Phillips.

Keon, 27, is serving a nine-month sentence for chopping a man and is expected to leave prison in September.

Grocita Phillips of Diamond, King’s Hill, has accused a prison officer stationed at the Belle Isle Correctional Facility of beating her son with a baton in his head, causing him to bleed through his nose.{{more}}

According to Grocita, on Friday, July 8, someone told her that her son was injured in prison and as a result bled through his nose. She said that on hearing the news, she became extremely distraught and immediately sought to find out what had transpired.

She said that she visited her son on Tuesday, July 12, at which time her son explained to her that a prison warden told him and some other prisoners that they were too noisy and when Keon responded, he was punched in his stomach three times.

“When he went to box him in his belly the fourth time, my son, who suffers from a hernia and has to do surgery, held on to his hand and he pull his baton out and hit him in his head,” said Grocita, who added that when her son recovered from the blow to his head, he realized he was bleeding through his nose, but was given no medical assistance.

The beating, according to Grocita, left Keon with, among other issues, injuries to his head, one of his hands and ribs.

“They did not take him to the doctor. A female prison officer said the doctor was supposed to come Friday and did not and I asked her if he bleed through his nose wasn’t he supposed to be taken to the casualty and she said she was not aware that happen…He said he told them and they didn’t help him,” said the angry mother.

Grocita said that during her visit to Belle Isle, when her son told her what had happened, she commented that the authorities at the prison were acting like murderers and as a result they threw her off the compound.

She said that the incident was reported to Permanent Secretary in Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey, who directed her to superintendent of prisons Brendon Charles.

She said that Charles asked for Keon to be brought to Kingstown to meet with him, but when the prisoner was transported to the capital, Charles had left for the day.

“I’m not satisfied. What going on in the prison is when them beat you down there in front other prisoners, the prisoners, they cannot talk because they punish them, so dem afraid to give evidence of what they see.

“A number of prisoners told me Keon did not fight back with the officer and he did not curse him either, but they saying dem afraid to give evidence because of the abuse and ill treatment when they talk, so I decide I want the public to know exactly what happening,” explained Grocita.

Crying, she further noted: “He is not the first one. They do these things and cover it up and I’m not satisfied.

“Me want justice because you not supposed to be doing people children that in prison. Even he curse him, that don’t give him the right to beat the child and all the prisoners dem saying he not even fight with him,” said Grocita.

When contacted yesterday, superintendent of prisons Brendon Charles said that he was on his way to Belle Isle to look into the matter and that a thorough investigation will be carried out.

This is not the first time that allegations of abuse have come out of the prison service. There have also been incidents where prisoners have died because of violence in prison.

Back in 2002, prison superintendent Eric Rodriguez was acquitted of killing inmate Kingsley Henry during a November 14, 2001 riot at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), White Chapel Road, Kingstown.

On July 26, 2002, a High Court judge threw out the murder case against Rodriguez for lack of evidence. Henry died after being shot in the head.

Also, in January 2001, then superintendent of prisons Leroy Latchman was stabbed by a prisoner. A few days later, two inmates, one of whom allegedly attacked Latchman, were killed by other inmates.

In 1996, an inmate, Reynold Peters, won a court case against the prison service after he was severely beaten by prison officers. Bernard Marksman was the prison boss at the time. The court judgement described the way Peters was treated as torture.(LC)