New prison won't solve overcrowding problem - Roper
President of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, Dr Garnett Roper, is expressing doubt the prison to be built with the help of the British Government will ease the overcrowding problem in Jamaica’s penal institutions.
National Security minister, Peter Bunting has said in addition to housing about 300 inmates imprisoned in the UK, the new facility will help the Government to retire the Tower Street and St Catherine facilities.
However, Dr Roper notes that the £25 million would only be adequate to build a 2,000 bed facility while the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre alone currently houses 1,700 inmates.
He also points to the fact that the 1993 Wolfe Report proposed a 6,000-bed facility to replace the two prisons and the women’s facility at Fort Augustus.
Dr Roper, who is a former chairman of the Board of Visitors for Jamaica’s prisons, says it’s difficult to see how the new facility will be able to accommodate Jamaica’s inmates as well as those from the UK.
Dr Roper says he has no issue with the prisoner transfer agreement as the prisoners would have been sent back to Jamaica after serving their sentences anyway.
However, he says the Jamaican Government should have been tougher in its negotiations and insisted that Britain pay a greater amount to build the prison.