Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Pigsty prison - Spencer vows to improve conditions at Tower Street correctional facility

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Supt Albert Brown (left) points to the poor state of the cells at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in central Kingston during a tour by State Minister for National Security Rudyard Spencer on Monday.
A prisoner standing by the door of the 4ftx8ft cell he occupies at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre during a tour by State Minister Rudyard Spencer on Monday.
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State minister in the Ministry of National Security, Rudyard Spencer, has expressed dissatisfaction with the living conditions at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre.

"I am really disappointed, and I am going to let that be my mantle, because people can't live under these conditions," said Spencer. He was led on a tour of the maximum-security prison on Monday by officials of the Department of Correctional Services, as he sought to get an update of the current needs of the facilities.

"I have seen the special location building that shouldn't be allowed to house anybody, and so I'm going to argue about that at another forum.

"I have seen inmates in very trying circumstances. But what frightens me most of all is that the officers and staff here are doing as much as possible, and they have very little to do it with," said Spencer. "Therefore, my task is to ensure that they get more to do what they are doing, and that they have somewhere that they can truly call a workplace."

The prison currently houses 1,471 inmates, and Spencer said that, despite the poor conditions, he was impressed with the different rehabilitation programmes that had been implemented. He appealed to the prisoners to make the best use of the services that were being provided.

"I'm asking those who come in and are doing CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) exams, please focus and make the best use of that opportunity. I know that, with continuation and commitment, they will leave here much better than when they came in, and I'm sure that they will make a meaningful contribution to the society," Spencer commented.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com