Various advocacy groups are calling for the release of low risk inmates. This call may soon be realized, as efforts to address growing problems within penal institutions, including a surge in COVID-19 positives, were yesterday outlined by the Ministry of National Security.
Approximately 630 inmates will be eligible for parole following the call to protect inmates from the novel coronavirus.
This is four times the normal number that is released yearly, however, Minister without Portfolio within the Ministry of National Security, Matthew Samuda says being eligible does not mean the person is automatically granted.
Samuda says infrastructure investment for the Department of Correctional Services has increased to 500 million dollars to upgrade prison facilities with most of the expenditure focusing on the inmate hospitals and the block that houses bed ridden Inmates.
He said the Ministry has also implemented different strategies to reduce the Inmates exposure to the virus which includes suspending visitation, installing water facilities and sink installation to improve hygiene.
Additionally, Samuda touched on the outdated Corrections Act stating that this Act will be reviewed and adjustments made to aspects concerning contraband being smuggled within the facility which will now be seen as a crime and the sanctions regarding the possession of electronic devices will also be made harsher.
He says the Government is also collecting resources to make prisons more technologically advanced .
CVM LIVE’s Paige Dixon reports: