Worried prisoners are still expressing concerns over covid19 as the government tries to contain its spread.
It was these same concerns that led to a riot at the Golden Grove Prison remand yard last Tuesday.
A female relative of a prisoner reached out to Newsday and said the people who were in remand are now not only faced with worse conditions than what they had before the riot, but are also left in the dark about the disease and how it is affecting the nation.
“They are scared. Everyone wants to go home,” said the relative. “Once one person gets it then everyone in there gets it.”
On Tuesday of last week, it was reported that a prisoner got into an altercation with a prison officer after a prisoner began acting out, the altercation sparked a chain of events that led to a prison riot with parts of the wall at the remand being breached, debris and garbage being thrown all over the division of the remand, parts of its roof being torn off and other parts being lit on fire.
The relative was told, one of the prisoners exhibited flu-like symptoms, and that sparked a panic among some of the prisoners. That, added to frustration over the decision to limit the amount of visits to each prisoner led to the riot.
The relative told Newsday prison officers began denying prisoners' requests for visits without consulting them or informing them why the measure was taken.
“You can’t just isolate people without allowing them visitation like that. They are human beings.”
Fears were exacerbated as news of a well-known TV personality announced that he contracted the virus. The personality was in close contact with several prison officers including Comissioner of Prisons Dennis Pulchan.
Newsday made attempts to reach Pulchan by phone, but calls went unanswered.
The relative said the prisoners are not being educated on the way the virus is spread and what government and by extension the prison service is doing about it.
“Some of them are just going on what they see in the media. They are not telling them how to prevent the virus on the inside. They are just scared because they are hearing that people could have flu-like symptoms and it could mean they have the virus. If they at least give them some kind of information it would ease their minds.”