Superintendent of Prisons David Foot has indicated that a number of the violent incidents that have taken place at Her Majesty’s Prison are gang-related, adding that they sometimes start from outside the walls of the correctional facility located at Balsam Ghut.
He made the comments during the recent Standing Finance Committee meeting, where representative of the Ninth Electoral District Dr Hubert O’Neal raised concern about an inmate from his constituency receiving substantial facial injuries after he was attacked by a gang of prisoners.
The Standing Finance Committee paraphrased the prison boss’ response to the claims. It said: “The Superintendent of Prisons noted that what they were seeing in the community was an increase in gang-related violence. Gang-related violence is reflected in the prison. As those criminals are caught, prosecuted and imprisoned, that gang-related violence would translate in the prison.”
Superintendent Foot, in the meantime, expressed concern that there is sometimes a difficulty obtaining statements regarding incidents at Her Majesty’s Prison because complainants and witnesses are reluctant to cooperate with investigators.
He added that, while he has the option between treating incidents internally or reporting them to the police, he usually reports all attacks on both inmates and staff to the East End Police Station.
“Unfortunately, not all prisoners would go to the police. They would not comply, and would not give evidence. And, in those circumstances, it becomes very difficult,” the prison boss further said, according to the Standing Finance Committee.
He explained that, if the police complete their investigations without prosecuting alleged offenders, the prison authority launches its internal probe.
Superintendent Foot explained that he conducts adjudications and, if he had evidence that an assault took place, he would be in a position to remove remission from the offending prisoner.
The prison boss, in the meantime, noted that a number of cases arising from incidents at Her Majesty’s Prison are now before the courts.
He however reported that inmates have expressed frustration about the length of time the said cases are taking to go through the judicial system.
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