No Condoms For Bajan Prisons

In prison abuse, prison sexual abuse, sexual abuse, sexual assault on May 31, 2008 at 6:26 pm

In the Barbados Parliament recently, Minister of Family Dr Esther Byer Suckoo whilst debating a resolution for the national strategic plan for HIV/AIDS prevention and control 2008-2013 said the government did not intend to sanction the distribution of condoms to prisoners in any of the nation’s penal institutions.

Dr Byer-Suckoo reportedly stated that condoms are not safe for anal sex, adding that prisoners need to be empowered with harm reduction strategies, whilst limiting the mobility of offenders. She emphasised the need to be able to reach prisoners with the strategies for the prevention of HIV because the government was aware that the potential for transmission of HIV in the prisons is high.

The Minister said that the government would utilise a variety of strategies to encourage prisoners who have been sexually assaulted and abused in custody to come forward to receive competent and effective counselling, treatment and care.

She was ready to acknowledge, however, that for such an atmosphere to be created, there needs to be the assurance for prisoners that their human rights will be protected in the prison and that, as a rape victim in the prison, they will have recourse for action.

CURB is in high praise for the Barbados government for its willingness to publicly address this issue rather than engage in denials and hide behind senseless rhetoric. We hope that other Caribbean governments follow this sterling example and move with decisiveness to stop prison abuse in the region.

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