Easing pressure on prison


The head of this island’s sole penal institution is suggesting that the effective operation of an alternative dispute resolution programme would ease the intake pressure on the prison.

Superintendent of Prisons Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse told Barbados TODAY this morning, following the end of the sixth annual medal awards presentation ceremony at Dodds in St Philip, that once the ADR programme worked, it would help reduce the numbers of inmates being remanded.

Nurse said such a programme would assist in “nipping in the bud” persons who would otherwise go before the law courts and have to end up in jail.

He welcomed any initiative which would help cut the number of people who are admitted to Dodds, considering that disputes would be settled early before they escalated into a crime.

The superintendent was happy that the prison was not experiencing any overcrowding up to this point.

“Whenever we are approaching 1,000 inmates and we are about to reach that point [of overcrowding], it [the numbers] go down,” added the prison chief.

He also expressed concern about the types of weapons being used by criminals these days, a matter which also worries Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, who recently drew attention to the high calibre guns in the hands of the lawless.

Nurse was also horrified by how perpetrators were “carving up” others with cutlasses.

He told Barbados TODAY, too, that the penal institution’s rehabilitation programme was working well, with inmates, for example, dominating the arts and craft sections of NIFCA from time to time.

Earlier when he addressed the awards ceremony, attended by a grieving Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, Nurse gave the minister notice of a proposal he planned to submit to him shortly regarding a new mechanism for properly recognizing prison officers.

He is proposing that “similar to the Defence Declarations Regulations 1985, we too can have some mechanism to adequately and appropriately recognize the meritorious and efficient service and make provision for various levels of commendation for the prison service”.

The prison head also revealed that 20 new officers recently joined the service, but he hoped they could soon be confirmed in their jobs.

When he spoke, Attorney General Brathwaite, who is mourning the recent death of one of his sons, reiterated his support for the cause of the Prison Service.

Some 77 awards were presented this morning to officers, and volunteers, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal to the superintendent, his two Assistant Superintendents Cedrick Moore and DeCarlo Payne and Chief Officer Phillip Walters. Humanitarian wards were also given to volunteers Coral Bernadine Roberts and Janette Lewis. (EJ) 

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