Antigua weeding out corruption in prisons

ST. JOHN’S — Four corrupt prison wardens have been fired and more could get the boot, as authorities move to stamp out bribery, contraband smuggling and abuse, inside Her Majesty’s Prison.

This follows months of an intense probe by a committee ordered to examine allegations made public in an investigative report published in The Daily OBSERVER, November last year.

In an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media, National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort said he has a 44-page draft report outlining the committee’s findings and recommendations.

He said, “The report (found) that certain prison officers appeared to have been involved in bringing in illegal substances into the prison. I could also say that to date, four prison officers have been terminated for that specific activity. Investigations are still ongoing.”

The minister noted all the terminations were recently effected.

Asked whether the prison officers would be charged, Dr. Cort said, “I am not aware of any steps at this point to prosecute any of the officers who would have been terminated.”

During OBSERVER media’s investigation last year, former inmates and prison staff alleged wardens were asking for and accepting bribes to smuggle marijuana, alcohol and cellular phones into the institution. Wardens were also accused of ill-treating inmates who threatened to blow their cover.

Dr. Cort said in order to reduce or wipe out such occurrences, there would be an increase of random searches and use of closed circuit television systems at the prison. (Antigua Observer)

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