AG: Freeing prisoners is ‘complex’

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi - Ayanna Kinsale
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi - Ayanna Kinsale

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has said the Prime Minister’s proposed release of some low-risk inmates to reduce prison overcrowding is “a very careful and complex” issue.

At Wednesday’s briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Dr Rowley said the AG and Judiciary were in talks to improve prison conditions by freeing some inmates unable to make bail or who were not violent or dangerous. This measure is being considered to help curb the covid19 pandemic

This comes two weeks after prisoners rioted at Golden Grove Prison remand yard, fearing infection by covid19.

The event was described as a simple jail-break attempt by Prison Commissioner Dennis Pulchan. Al-Rawi later told Newsday that to manage the prison population, one must consider two classes of inmate: those awaiting trial on remand and those convicted.

“With respect to those on remand, we have called for the data.” Other inmates, he said, were granted bail by the court but had not managed to get it.

“So we are looking at that and are pulling the numbers right now, to see what that looks like. I’m just awaiting that to get it clear.”

Al-Rawi said the case of convicted inmates was a bit more complicated.

“We are scrubbing the data right now to see first of all what type of offences, whether people have appealed, how much time they have left to run.

“This is a very careful and complex equation.

The interference with a sentence is a matter for the President under the Constitution. Section 87 says the presidential power of pardon, which includes commuting sentences etcetera, is all a presidential issue.”

“The AG said his office is looking at all of this and he hoped the picture would become clearer by Thursday.


"AG: Freeing prisoners is ‘complex’"

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