Acting Commissioner of Prisons William Alexander has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to errant prisons officers who may be involved in the trafficking of weapons and other contraband items behind bars. Alexander made his position clear yesterday as he addressed concerns surrounding a video clip of two inmates at the Golden Grove Prison fighting in one of the prison’s corridors as other inmates recorded the incident on cellphones.
Below are the video clips of the interaction that was originally posted and circulating on Facebook.
Alexander said the incident was being investigated and the two prisoners involved in the fracas have already been identified.
“That video is being investigated as we speak. The inmates identified are being interviewed with a view to determining how they got the weapon and relative to their conduct, because there were some obscenities and some threats.”
Alexander said the Prison Service, though challenged, remains committed to ensuring the safety of both inmates and security personnel. He said the service will also be implementing more stringent security measures to combat the trafficking of weapons and other contraband from outside the prison.
“Officers who do not display the right or appropriate behaviour also have a hand in moving contraband. We would also want to ask that the courts reduce the time for adjudicating these matters when we arrest these officers. Sometimes its ten to twelve years before these matters are dealt with. We want their matters to be expedited also so they can be dismissed from the Prison Service.”
Newsday also spoke to Prison Officers Association president Ceron Richards who is calling on the Prison Service and the Ministry of National Security to investigate the video.
Last month, Richards and members of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union staged a demonstration on the grounds of the Golden Grove facility to protest, what they described as, substandard working conditions. Richards says the video represents a major breach in security as it highlights a number of different safety concerns prison officers face while carrying out daily tasks.
“The issues here are the cellphones, the weapon and the cell gates open and also the fact that there isn’t an officer in sight during this incident. The Prison Officers Association looked in horror as that video unfolded with what appeared to be some serious security breaches in a division of the Maximum Security Prison.”