Country Report on Belize Human Rights Practices

In prison abuse on April 2, 2008 at 8:24 am

The US Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2007 indicates that, in Belize “prison conditions were poor and did not meet international standards. The country’s only prison, Hattieville Central Prison, which was designed for 1,200 inmates, held 1,377 inmates, including 26 women and 35 adolescents.

Prison officials reported overcrowding in the two buildings that served as the remand section of the prison. Pretrial detainees were held separately from convicted inmates.

The ombudsman received some complaints that prison authorities brutalized prisoners. Inmates claimed that prison officials sometimes withheld food and water as further punishment, conducted strip searches and beatings, and extorted money for transfers to better conditions.

The Kolbe Foundation, which investigated formal complaints regarding prison conditions, reported no cases of abuse or excessive force by prison officials. Isolation in a small unlit, unventilated punishment cell called “supermax” was used to discipline inmates.

There were five reported incidents of inmate-on-inmate abuse with weapons, resulting in the death of one inmate. Prisoners convicted or accused of certain serious crimes such as child molestation were often held in the remand section of the Hattieville prison for their protection.

The government’s Women’s Department provided counseling and educational services for female inmates. The prison included a separate facility for women, located 200 yards outside the main compound. Conditions in the women’s facility were significantly better than those in the men’s compound.

The government does not incarcerate female juveniles charged or convicted of crimes but places them in the care of the government social services authorities. During the year there were no female juveniles in the custody of the social services authorities. Juvenile males, on remand and convicted, lived in a separate facility outside the main perimeter fence.”

  1. I spent 19 days in the Hattiville Prison – I was treated very nice, since I was an American, but there was abuse, and I heard a lot of crazy stories. The conditions are also very bad in the holding cells and way below what I consider to be a minimal standard

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