BVI Prison Crowding Update

In prison abuse on June 30, 2008 at 11:41 am

In mid-June High Court Justice Indra Harpirashad-Charles, along with her court staff and press toured Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut, British Virgin islands to view the state of the facilities.

Journalists and the Judge were informed of the extensive work that was being conducted by the prison farm as well as some of the vocational activities open to prisoners. Farm produce was available for sale in the wider community and members of the public were said to be allowed to patronise some of the skilled prisoners to make clothing, artwork and furniture.

During a court sentencing in late May, 2008 Justice Charles had been informed that the prison was only three persons short of attaining its maximum capacity. It has now been faced with the additional challenges of accommodating juvenile offenders on remand and on conviction.

As in many Caribbean territories, the majority of the prison population is on remand. Here, the remand wing was so crowded that additional cots had to be set up in the hall. Moreover, during the day the prison facilities experiences an intense heat that beats down on the poorly ventilated buildings and crowded cellblocks, posing a hazard to the health of inmates.

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