BVI News

Prison Visiting Committee gets special training

His Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development recently held training for members of the Prison Visiting Committee to enhance their knowledge of their roles in helping to protect inmates at His Majesty’s Prison.

The Prison Visiting Committee is tasked with visiting the prison and providing hearing sessions for any complaints made by prisoners. The members are also tasked with inspecting the quality of the prison accommodation, food, facilities and services available to the prisoners, as well as the treatment of prisoners by staff.

The committee can also report any matter it believes may infringe on the rights of inmates. Members are expected to report urgent matters to the Governor through the necessary channels. Members are also inclined to make recommendations to the Superintendent of Prisons with respect to any investigations presented.

There has been much focus on the prison in recent times, following a string of issues emanating from the facility, which proves that more resources are needed to keep inmates safe and contribute to their rehabilitation.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development Tasha Bertie said an essential part of the committee members’ service is increasing their knowledge based on the procedures that are expected to guide their operation and assist in the overall delivery of their mandate.

“As a ministry, we are expecting to use different mediums to ensure that we provide the requisite information and guidance that will support our committee’s ability to deliver their mandate in a conducive, transparent and efficient way. Essentially, providing them with the appropriate training and guidance on how they are expected to operate and support the delivery of their mandate,” Bertie said.

The session was facilitated by the Department of Human Resources and the Attorney General’s Chambers. Crown Counsel Ann-Marie A. Coombs gave a detailed presentation to members of the committee on their duties related to the Prison Act 1998, the Prison Rules 1999, and the Prison Ordinance 2000.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director for the Department of Human Resources, Kaisa Penn advised the committee on their duties related to human resources while she also acknowledged the unique staffing challenges His Majesty’s Prison faces and the role of the Prison Visiting Committee.


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