Cabinet and Prison officials confer on measures to keep contraband out of ‘1735’ after raid turns up scores of items

The Government is now moving to put in place proper mechanisms that will prevent contraband items from entering Her Majesty’s Prison.

This comes about two weeks after dozens of banned items were found in the cells at the country’s lone penal facility. These included knives, scissors, pots and pans, more than 60 cell phones, hot plates (or one-burner electric stoves), electric kettles and other electronic items, and lighters.

While such joint operations between the Police and Prison officers are not unusual, this is the first time that so many illegal items have been found at once, a source says.

Reportedly, investigations are now being conducted to determine how the items got into the Prison and which officers might be responsible.

Five officials, including Superintendent Jermaine Anthony, were summoned to Cabinet to report on the challenges they face and the steps needed to eliminate or reduce prisoners’ access to contraband.

“Although the Cabinet may make rules for discipline and training at the prison, the officials have repeated that prevention is superior to punishment,” this week’s Notes from the Executive state.

Therefore, it has been determined that the screening of persons entering the compound, including prison officers, should not be left to the authorities at the institution.

Five proposals reportedly were put to the Cabinet, including the frequent change of officers responsible for checking entry and exit to the prison; utilizing metal detectors; and other kinds of security systems.

The construction of the two watch towers that was started while Deputy Police Commissioner Albert Wade was Acting Prison Superintendent is also to be completed. They are intended to deter outside persons from throwing items over the prison walls.

The Executive also concluded that one officer to seven inmates is the ideal ratio – rather than the current ratio of one on-duty officer to almost 40 inmates at a time.

There are approximately 250 inmates at this time, and at least 40 more officers are to be trained and deployed, the Notes say.

One additional vehicle and other safety equipment are required to effectively manage the prison and the movement of prisoners, it is noted, as well.

Additionally, an internal buffer fence at the eastern border of the prison will immediately be constructed, the Executive promises.