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Antigua: “Prisoners, prison staff must endure harsh conditions longer”

Harsh conditions will continue to prevail at Her Majesty’s Prison on Coronation Road as the minister responsible for prison, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin said the only solution is to build a new prison, and this “will not happen in six months.”

Yesterday, he told OBSERVER media “these things take time” and patience is required, as he indicated yet again, that he will be taking three proposals to the Cabinet for review with respect to the construction of a new jail.

“There is work being done at the moment on the prison. But, we recognise that we do need to have a new prison built – that is being looked at.”

But the minister said the problems plaguing the prison here are not unique to Antigua and Barbuda.

“May I be so bold as to say, I’m not trying to make an excuse here, but the prison situation in the entire Caribbean is of grave concern,” he said.

Last week, the U.S. State department published the ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT which lamented harsh conditions and highlighted the issues of bribery and corruption.

The report states that the superintendent of prisons, Albert Wade, reported that bribery and corruption in the prison involve guards who are allegedly taking bribes and smuggling contraband to the prisoners.

The banned items being smuggled to the prisoners in the overcrowded jail include liquor, cellular phones, and marijuana.

The human rights review upon which this report is based, covers the period last year, up to September.

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