A confidential report leaked to THE NEW TODAY has given graphic details about some of the major problems facing inmates at the Richmond Hill prison.
The document relates to Minutes from the May 6, 2021 meeting of the Prison Visiting Committee (PVC) which is chaired by former 1983-84 Interim government member Pastor Christopher Williams of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
A prisoner who testified before the committee indicated that some of the inmates have been complaining that they only get “dry bread with a cup of tea for breakfast” at the island’s sole prison.
“…The inmates that go out to work also complained that on their return when supper would have already been served, they only receive dry bread without any meat as cheese or corned beef”.
Another of the inmates who was called before the PVC said that there is a serious shortage of cleaning liquid like disinfectant and bleach within the walls of the prison.
“He said it is becoming a serious concern to the inmates and they are not receiving any for the purpose of cleaning their cells. He added that the person in charge of the cleaning at the General Block said that because of the insufficient supply of the quantity of the cleaning products that he is unable to distribute it to all the inmates.
“He received a gallon of the products which must be used for the toilet areas, the back yards etc.
One of the inmates who is placed at the Prison Store Room was quoted as saying that every other Sunday “the inmates in charge of the cleaning for each block are given disinfectant, bleach and eyes cleaning fluid.”
“It is believed that since General Block is the largest area that the supply given to them may be insufficient,” said the document.
A suspected case of homosexuality at the Bakery Section of the prison was also brought to the attention of Committee members.
The prisoner who briefed the PVC on the issue said that “the inmates have raised concerns with said occurrences as the Bakery is a place where food (bread) is produced.”
He expressed fears also that there could be a disease outbreak in that section of the prison among inmates and suggested that those prisoners assigned to work in the Bakery should be tested regularly.
The PVC was also informed by prison inmates about “the usual leaks in cells as the rain season approaches”.
“Once rain falls at night, Cell #11 would get wet,” said the report.
Another cause of concern was a stench coming from a septic tank which was of some bother to inmates.
According to the report, the inmate informed the committee that “the smell was rare in the past but now due to heavy rainfalls, it has been more frequent”.
“The inmates informed that as the rain season approaches, consideration need to be made as it relates to the leaks in the cells to avoid inmates from getting wet,” it said.
On the issue of the stench from the septic tank, Superintendent of Prison, Rupert Neckles said that the authorities are aware of the problem and had contacted an Engineer from the Ministry of Infrastructure, Nigel Noel for assistance to help solve the problem.
“He (Noel) directed as to what should be done and the (Prison) Administration are preparing the same to be executed. They have already started the process,” Supt Neckles told the meeting.
The senior Prison officer also addressed the issue raised by prisoners about the poor meals given to them.
The report quotes Neckles as saying:”The Superintendent said that he was unaware of that as it wasn’t reported. He will meet and direct the Chief Office”.
On the issue of a lack of sufficient cleaning supplies at the prison, Supt Neckles said: “…The matter was previously addressed as it was brought up before and will ensure the matter is sorted out.”