Developments in October 2007

In prison abuse, prison sexual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault on October 31, 2007 at 7:10 pm

In October 2007, following a decision taken at the Board of Directors meeting, the CURB President met with the Council of Prison Chaplains and Ministers (COPCAM) on the issue of prison sexual abuse.

During that month, we also wrote to the Prisons Commissioner again, despite not having received any reply from him to our letter of January 2007 requesting a meeting on the prison rape issue.

CURB also wrote to the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister in charge of Prison Rehabilitation, requesting a meeting with him to discuss the problem of prisoner rape.

In this month, CURB created the new dedicated Stop Prison Abuse website and began to finalise arrangements with facilitators for a week of training for prison volunteers in counselling survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse during Restorative Justice Week – 19th to 23rd November 2007.

CURB President, Adrian N. Alexander and a COPCAM member, Dr. Andrea Palmer, participated in an advanced counselling training programme with Rape Crisis Society which extended over 5 Saturdays.

CURB was pleased to see several prison officers in attendance at this training programme but was concerned that the officers were drawn from various departments and seemed unsure of the future application of the information to which they were being exposed.

This was in light of the absence of defined structures within the Prison Service for them to counsel with prisoners who are survivors of sexual assault or abuse.

CURB also wrote a funding proposal to the government of Trinidad and Tobago requesting financial assistance to host a series of training programmes to, inter alia:-

1. empower persons to counsel survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse,

2. conduct focus groups, interviews, surveys and other research into prison sexual abuse in Trinidad and Tobago and

3. develop and distribute literature and other resources to impact the sub-culture of local prisons and change mindsets with respect to prison sexual assault.

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