AG: Hundreds of non-violent inmates released

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. -
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. -

While he could not give the exact figure of non-violent prisoners released to reduce overcrowding in prisons, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi claimed the total number was "in the hundreds" as of Tuesday.

Speaking with Newsday, Al-Rawi responded to a media release from the Caribbean Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) on Monday.

It accused the government of not honouring its promise to take steps to reduce the spread of covid19 behind bars by releasing non-violent offenders.

He said contrary to these allegations, the government, through three channels, had already secured the release of hundreds of inmates, and accused the CCHR of not paying attention.

"I don't have it with me offhand, but I put out a press release which was covered in the papers," he said.

"But we exercised the release of prisoners under a number of different heads.

"Number one: we went to courts, via the Public Defender's Divisio,n and we secured releases.

"Number two: in exercise of the powers by the Commissioner of Prisons, several hundreds of people were released as well.

"And then number three, the matters that are before the Mercy Committee have to now be dealt with by documentation coming forward there.

"So we've dealt with it in three separate pots, and we are into hundreds of people.

He urged people not ot make statements without checking the facts.

"I have not received an ounce of correspondence as far as I'm aware from these people asking me a question. Yet it appears that they make submissions purporting these submissions are fact, and I'm a little surprised."

On April 16 Newsday reported that 121 prisoners had been released after Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan gave the court a list of those who had been convicted of summary offences and sentenced to over a year in prison with 12 months remaining.

Newsday tried to contact Pulchan for further comment but was unsuccessful.


"AG: Hundreds of non-violent inmates released"

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