Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Gov't to decide on release of certain prisoners in COVID response

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2020 | 8:01 PM
Since March, the Department of Correctional Service has implemented protocols stipulated by the World Health Organisation, Centers for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health Wellness.

The Government will next week detail whether some inmates will be released from prison as part of its response to contain COVID-19.

Some 23 people in the penal system have tested positive for the virus.

Human rights group Stand Up for Jamaica has been calling for the release of low-risk prisoners near the end of their sentences.

Matthew Samuda, the Minister without Portfolio in the National Security Ministry says the Administration is currently looking to deal with the most vulnerable and those living with comorbidities within the correctional facilities.

"We will outline an approach in short order", Samuda said following a visit to the Horizon Remand Centre and the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre on Wednesday. 

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton was also on the tour as both ministers observed the implementation of prison protocols for the COVID containment.

Samuda said since March, the Department of Correctional Service (DCS) has implemented protocols stipulated by the World Health Organisation, the Centers for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health Wellness, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

"What we’ve implemented follows a checklist established by these organisations, which we would have successfully consolidated," said Samuda. 

These include the implementation of sanitisation areas and designated isolation points to prevent the potential for spread.

Meanwhile, Dr Donna-Michelle Powe, Director of Medical Services at the DCS, said inmates have taken the threat of the virus seriously.

"Some inmates have put up signs on blocks in quarantine and question other inmates who want to enter their space about their whereabouts," she said.

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