Advocacy Group Renews Call for Release of Low-Risk Inmates

Low-Risk Inmates – Even with all the required health protocols implemented, the Department of Correctional Services on Saturday recorded 14 new COVID-19 cases at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre; And although the department has been collaborating with the Ministry of Health and wellness and the public defender in their management of the pandemic, the advocacy group ‘Stand for Jamaica’ believes more should be done.

Of the 14 new COVID-19 cases at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, two are staff members and twelve (12) are inmates. Prior to these two cases were recorded at the facility in September.

In August, five people at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre including one correctional officer tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Director of Corporate Communications, Department of Correctional Service’s Leslie-Ann Brown points out that all positive cases are placed in isolation and contact tracing conducted to curtail a potential spread.

In September alone, almost 300 persons inclusive of correctional staff and inmates were swabbed for testing, the last of which took place at the tower street facility where over 100 persons were swabbed.

Meanwhile, stand up for Jamaica, an advocacy group for inmates, says the increase in cases is inevitable in an environment where social distancing is not applicable.

The group is calling for the release of some inmates. The group will be distributing some 17,000 masks to all correctional facilities.

A call to action to the Governor-General, Ministry of Security, Chief of Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions, and the public defender, to take a stand and move towards a solution before the situation gets worse.

My colleague Robian Williams has the details: