Here we go again
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The conditions in which detainees are held grab the headlines from time to time. There are basic minimum standards for the holding and treatment of detainees set out by the United Nations. These standards can be adopted and implemented without large sums of money.
I would submit that the following be considered to improve the system.
Institute clear written standards or expectations.
Train JPs on how to carry out announced and unannounced inspection visits.
Set up systems so these expectations can be audited.
Publish reports semi-annually in the media detailing the conditions of the country's detention facilities.
It might be worth considering who should be manning and managing police holding facilities. I guarantee to you that police officers are not extensively trained to manage holding facilities or on how to deal with the day-to-day activities. Why not relieve the officers of these duties and use correctional staff to manage or supervise the larger detention facilities.
There also needs to be an electronic occurrence diary with an audit trail, such as when detainees received their shower, meal served, detainees reporting sick and action taken.