DOMINICA – Young offenders in prison raise concerns
ROSEAU –– Assistant Superintendent of Prisons, Raphael Catin, has expressed concerns over the amount of young offenders being brought to the state prison, saying the numbers are increasing.
Some 17 young offenders have been at the prison located in Stock Farm, he revealed.
“The amount is increasing and they are coming there for various crimes,” he said when questioned in court at the closing of the Criminal Session on Monday.
Males dominate the prison the population and there are two juveniles in custody.
“We have 211 inmates at the prison which consists of 208 males, three females, we have two juveniles in custody but I can tell the court that 17 young offenders have been at the prison,” he said.
Also at the prison are four foreign nationals: three Chinese and one Haitian.
Catin also told the court that they are in the process of doing renovation work on the security block at the prison to include toilet facilities.
At present, there are 11 inmates in the security block and they are using a pail to dispose of human waste.
“The toilet facility at the security block is being addressed, estimates are now being sought after which renovation work is expected to commence,” Catin said.
He also expressed concerns about security at the prison, saying that people are still sending drugs and other illegal times over the fence for prisoners.
“We intercept some and even call the police but it is still a major concern for us,” he said.
At present, there are no security cameras on the prison compound or attached to the fencing at the prison.
“We have no cameras in the prison or outside but we intended to do that,” he stated.
Catin showered praise on the medical team at the prison headed by one doctor and nurse and also includes two prison officers.
“We have greatly improved on our medical . . . we have a doctor and a nurse holding clinic for the inmates every fortnight . . . . the doctor is available anytime we need her,” he said.
According to Catin, while prison officials want more staff, that is not for them but for the government to work on.
He also questioned the lack of interest shown by men to be prison officers. He said 34 applications for jobs as prison officers have been received and out of that, 24 were from women.