Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Blinding outrage - Family livid as mentally ill man loses eye in prison

Published:Sunday | July 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Rosalyn Fraser, mother of Lebert Bailey, who lost an eye after a brutal beating at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility.

The family of 40-year-old Lebert Bailey is today pleading for justice after the mentally ill man lost one of his eyes after being brutally beaten at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility weeks ago.

Bailey was arrested on May 24 after he scratched a car belonging to his mother's tenant, and was subsequently charged.

According to his sister, Marie Bailey, the judge instructed during the trial that he should be placed at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, formerly called the General Penitentiary (GP).

"In court, the judge realised that he was having mental issues and she ordered them to take him to GP to the mental part, where he would get treatment. That was Wednesday the 31st. He didn't get to go to GP until Friday, June 2," said Marie.


Family wasn't contacted


According to Marie, despite the judge's instruction, her brother was placed in the general population at the maximum security prison and was badly beaten some time that afternoon.

"My brother said three men, two of them held his hands behind him ... because he was sitting down eating, and then the other one kept punching him in his eyes," said Marie, who lives in London.

"Nobody took him to the hospital until in the night. Some neighbour saw my brother at the Kingston Public Hospital come and tell my mom Friday night. Nobody from GP rang my mom to tell her that my brother was in the hospital," added Marie.

"My brother lost his eye. They had to take out his eye. He only has one eye," she said.

Commissioner of Corrections Ina Hunter has confirmed that Bailey did lose one of his eyes on June 2 while being held at the prison.

According to Hunter, this was as a result of him being in a fight with another mentally ill inmate.

"Both inmates sustained injuries. The named inmate was taken immediately to the Accident and Emergency Unit at KPH where he was admitted," she said.

Hunter denied that Bailey was placed in the general prison population.

"It is noted that the named inmate was located at an area of the institution which houses mentally ill inmates," said Hunter. She said that the incident is still being investigated.

But Bailey's mother, Rosalyn Fraser, is adamant that her son was not placed in the section of the prison for persons with mental illnesses.

Fraser said she was told that her son was not moved to that section until after he was discharged from the hospital.

She said her son is her caregiver and the loss of one of his eyes will hamper his ability to take care of her.