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LETTER OF THE DAY - Unsatisfactory penal centre policy

Published:Monday | April 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

My son who was was recently incarcerated was transferred from another penal institution to the South Camp Rehabilitation centre. On my first visit there, I carried a dozen oranges, bananas and half pound of grapes with some toiletries. I was taken aback when I took out the items to be told by the senior female personnel at the visiting area that only three oranges, three bananas and the grapes would be allowed inside. She said this was the rule at that institution.

When I told her this wasn't the same procedure at the institution my son was coming from, she replied that each institution has its own rules. If this is so, it's really an ad hoc way of managing institutions.

Unhygienic practices

My son then told me that tinned stuff like mackerel and sardine are cut and put into plastic bags at the tuck shop provided by the prison. This I believe is not hygienic. I am sure an outbreak of illnesses from E-coli and salmonella bacteria will occur some day soon because of this unhygienic practice.

But my biggest problem has to do with the welfare of my son. He said there has been a sudden cut in the food served to inmates on a daily basis. My son says there are days when if inmates arrive for meals late, the food will not be enough for everyone so they have to go to their cells hungry. If this is so, I find it very outrageous and unworthy of the leaders at the institution and, even worse, if it is condoned by the commissioner in charge. I would like this to be investigated by the public defender and Jamaicans for Justice.

My son committed a crime and is behind bars for that, and his sentence is his punishment, but I do not take kindly to the situation that he now finds himself in at that institution. We are poor, but we seek justice and equity just like any one else. So, I ask the authorities to look into what I have said and rectify these unbecoming circumstances which put a blight on what is required of the penal institutions, and that is to rehabilitate incarcerated individuals so they can become productive and decent people in our society.

It is clear that with the current procedures that make people feel unhuman, it's difficult for inmates to really grasp the true philosophy of rehabilitation.

I am, etc.,


Spanish Town P.O

St Catherine