No New Prison To Relieve Antigua Overcrowding

In prison abuse on August 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Antiguan Prison Superintendent, Eric Henry, admitted during an interview with the Antigua Sun earlier this year that Her Majesty’s Prison is now faced with a grave overcrowding problem.

Notwithstanding, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, Collin Derrick, has recently stated that the construction of a new prison in Antigua and Barbuda is currently not a pressing priority that would require the diversion of the government resources.

Derrick, while speaking on Observer Radio yesterday, explained that it will take an estimated $20 million to build a facility to house about 500 prisoners taking into account the future expansion of the population of the country’s lone penal institution.

As an alternative, the government intends to utilise part of the lands earmarked for a prison farm to construct a facility to house up to 50 or 60 inmates who are considered to be well behaved. Such prisoners who are willing to participate in the prison rehabilitation programmes will reside at that facility thereby providing short term relief for the prison overcrowding situation.

The British government recently donated over $107,000 to the Ministry of Justice towards the upgrading of the prison farm. The monies will be spent to establish an area of horticultural production on the prison farm, to train inmates in horticultural skills, to develop animal husbandry skills and to erect a proper fence around the property.

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