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Monday 10 December 2018
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Young: TT short 1,301 prison officers

Minister Stuart Young
Minister Stuart Young

UPDATE:

THERE are 1,301 vacant posts in the prison service, including commissioner and deputy commissioner of prisons, says National Security Minister Stuart Young.

He was speaking as the Standing Finance Committee considered national security expenditure in the 2018/2019 national budget in Parliament Thursday.

Young said an increase of $28 million in COLA and salaries was to assist in filling vacant posts which fall under the Service Commission. He reported the total establishment is 4,211 and only 2,910 posts were currently filled.

“We are all aware of the difficulties that the prison service is currently undergoing, so we are going on a recruitment drive this year in the hope that we would be able to attract officers to the prison service.”

He said there were varying difficulties throughout national security regarding recruitment, and not only in the prison service. He reported for this fiscal year the ministry was hoping to recruit 500 prison officers; 290 were recruited in the previous fiscal year. The outstanding positions were: Commissioner of prisons, deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner of prisons, five superintendents, two cadet officers, four assistant superintendents, 14 prison supervisors, 12 prison welfare officer Is, 161 prison officer IIs, 179 prison officer Is, and 21 prison service drivers.

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said the job was not one of the most attractive, and if there were any new strategies for vetting and recruitment. Young said the strategies would remain the same, though the ministry was “upping the ante” regarding vetting, including the use of polygraphing of prison officers and other law enforcement officers.

Young said the first issue was the bureaucracy of recruitment and secondly, “There is a level of danger associated with carrying out your duties and your functions as a prison officer. So you have to first of all have a cadre of persons willing to enter the prison service, knowing that within recent times...and for quite a while now, there is a danger.”

He said by definition there would be a limited number of people.

Caroni Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie said part of the danger is that, depending on how officers conduct themselves inside, they could be liable to exposure to prisoners who have a lot of power to do business outside the prison. Young said the authorities were trying their best to identify the potential for these things during the vetting process but the reality was that was not going to be eliminated and it was possible while officers are in the service they would be drawn into this type of behaviour.

On October 2 Supt Wayne Jackson was shot outside his Malabar home. Two suspects have been detained. Jackson was one of 22 prison officers killed in the past 28 years.

ORIGINAL STORY:

THIS country has 1,301 vacant posts in the prison service including Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, says National Security Minister Stuart Young.

He was speaking as the Standing Finance Committee considered the national security expenditure of the 2018/2019 national budget in Parliament Thursday.

Young said an increase of $28 million in COLA and salaries was to assist in filling vacant posts which falls under the Service Commission. He reported the total establishment is 4,211 and there were only 2,910 posts currently filled.

"We are all aware of the difficulties that the prison service is currently undergoing so we are going on a recruitment drive this year in the hope that we would be able to attract officers to the prison service."

He said there were varying difficulties throughout national security regarding recruitment and not only in the prison service. He reported for this fiscal year the ministry was hoping to recruit 500 prison officers; 290 were recruited in the previous fiscal year.

The outstanding positions were: Commissioner of Prisons, Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, five for superintendent, two cadet officers, four assistant superintendent, 14 prison supervisors, 12 prison welfare officers ones, 161 prison officers twos, 179 prison officer ones and 21 prison service drivers.

On October 2 Supt of Prisons Wayne Jackson was shot outside his Malabar home and two suspects have been detained in connection with his killing. Jackson was one of 22 prison officers who have been killed in the past 28 years.

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