Sun | Aug 20, 2017

More correctional officers under probe for corruption - Montague

Published:Friday | April 28, 2017 | 4:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Robert Montague

National Security Minister Robert Montague is reporting that several correctional officers are currently under investigation for corruption while others have been charged with breaching the law.

He said a number of officers in the correctional service have also been transferred from particular correctional centres.

Montague, who made the disclosure on Thursday while addressing journalists at a post-Sectoral Debate press conference at the ministry in Kingston, also had high praised for some correctional officers who have become whistle-blowers on their corrupt colleagues.

"I must place on record the ministry's appreciation and commendations for a number of the officers within the correctional services who are exposing a lot of the corruption. They are now more comfortable in exposing a lot of the corruption that was taking place," he said.

Commenting on efforts to plug the gap that facilitated the illegal recording of songs by inmates, Montague said that technological solutions have been introduced to tackle the problem.

He explained that inmates are using expensive smartphones to record and send songs to persons outside the prisons via the Internet, as well as recording on microchips and smuggling them out of the institution.

Other efforts mentioned by Montague to curtail illegal drugs getting into the prisons and to prevent the illegal recording of songs are the re-establishment of an intelligence unit and a search unit, as well as the installation of CCTVs.

Montague said that when separate searches were carried out at one correctional centre, within a week, two dozen cellular phones, illegal drugs, and one inmate with $100,000 were found. In addition, another 12 phones were also discovered.

In March, Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services Ina Hunter said that while investigation continued into allegations that convicted entertainer Vybz Kartel was illegally recording music in prison, correctional officers who failed polygraph tests in relation to the matter could be sacked.

She conceded that if incarcerated persons are recording music in prison, it would have to be acts of corruption that facilitate the process.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com