Country Report on St. Vincent Human Rights Practices

In prison abuse, prison sexual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault on April 2, 2008 at 8:20 am

The US Country Report for St. Vincent and the Grenadines indicates that “prison conditions remained poor. Prison buildings were antiquated and overcrowded, with Her Majesty’s Prison in Kingstown holding 373 inmates in a building intended to hold approximately 150 inmates, a situation that created serious health and safety problems.

Despite reforms at the Her Majesty’s Prison, problems such as endemic violence, understaffing, underpaid guards, uncontrolled weapons and drugs, increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, and unhygienic conditions persisted. Corrupt prison staff commonly served as a source of drugs, weapons, and cell phones.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association reported that guards routinely beat prisoners to extract information regarding escapes, violence, and crime committed in the prison. In March several Muslim prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest poor conditions and the lack of the appropriate food for their Islamic diet. In September a fight between inmates and guards led to a three-day lockdown of the facility.

The Fort Charlotte Prison held nine female inmates in a separate section designed to hold 50 inmates, but conditions were antiquated and unhygienic. Pretrial detainees and young offenders (16 to 21 years of age) were held with convicted prisoners.

Conditions were inadequate for juvenile offenders. Boys under the age of 16 were held at the Liberty Lodge Boys’ Training Center, which takes in boys who can no longer stay at home due to domestic problems or involvement with criminal activity. Most of the 30 boys were at the center because of domestic problems, and only a small number were charged with committing a crime.”

CURB is particularly concerned with the increase in sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV AIDS in this nation’s prisons. Such a scenario can only lead to grave public health repercussions as offenders re-enter society. Moreover, the fact of the increase of such STDs confirms the existence of sexual activity in custody, some of which occurs in circumstances tantamount to sexual assault and abuse.

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